Motor Vehicle Enforcement

core mission

photo of enforcement officer talking to trick driver

We promote highway safety through education and enforcement of all Iowa law and federal motor carrier safety regulations as they pertain to commercial motor vehicles and their drivers. This is done by:

  • Enforcing traffic and criminal law to promote safety of the public and reduce crashes to expedite traffic flow and freight movement.
  • Inspecting commercial vehicles and drivers to determine compliance with state and federal laws relating to driver qualification, hours of service, driver licensing, vehicle size and weight, and vehicle safety compliance.
  • Protecting Iowa’s highway system and infrastructure through the enforcement of size, weight, and cargo laws.
  • Providing training to the motor carrier industry, social groups, law enforcement, and other governmental groups.
  • Assisting other law enforcement officers when requested or when situation dictates.
  • Preparing and testifying in court to present the facts surrounding any civil, criminal, or departmental action.
  • Other duties commonly associated with law enforcement work.

 

Complying with safety regulations

Who must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Regulations?

The rules in the title 49 CFR apply to all employers, employees, and commercial motor vehicles that transport property or passengers in interstate commerce. A commercial motor vehicle is a vehicle or combination of vehicles with a weight or GVWR over 10,001 lbs.

The rules in the title 49 CFR apply to all employers, employees, and commercial motor vehicles that transport property or passengers in intrastate commerce. A commercial motor vehicle is a power unit vehicle with a weight or GVWR over 10,001 lbs. or a combination of vehicles with a weight or combination weight/GVWR over 26,001 lbs.

For exemptions see Iowa Code Section 321.449

Where can I find a weigh station?

 

Core mission duties

Commercial Vehicle Inspections

photo of enforcement officers inspecting a bus

Motor Vehicle Enforcement officers conduct three basic levels of commercial motor vehicle inspections following the North American Standard Inspection Procedure at our weigh stations or roadside while patrolling Iowa’s highways. These inspections may also include vehicles transporting large or small amounts of hazardous materials, motor coaches, and buses.

90 minutes Level one - full inspection

An inspection that includes examination of driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable); alcohol and drugs; driver’s record of duty status, as required; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable); brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; driveline/driveshaft; exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads); steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims and hubs; windshield wipers; buses, motor coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles – emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, seating, HM/DG and specification cargo tank requirements, as applicable. HM/DG required inspection items will only be inspected by certified HM/DG and cargo tank inspectors, as applicable.

60 minutes Level two - walk around driver/vehicle inspection

An examination that includes each of the items specified under the North American Standard Level II Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection Procedure. As a minimum, Level II Inspections must include examination of: driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable); alcohol and drugs; driver’s record of duty status as required; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable); brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; driveline/driveshaft; exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads); steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims and hubs; windshield wipers; buses, motorcoaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles – emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, seating, and HM/DG requirements, as applicable. HM/DG required inspection items will only be inspected by certified HM/DG and cargo tank inspectors, as applicable. It is contemplated that the walk-around driver/vehicle inspection will include only those items that can be inspected without physically getting under the vehicle.

45 minutes Level three - driver/credential/administrative inspection

An examination that includes those items specified under the North American Standard Level III Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection Procedure. As a minimum, Level III Inspections must include, where required and/or applicable: examination of the driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate; driver’s record of duty status; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s); and carrier identification and status.


Hazardous Materials Specialist

A hazardous materials specialist is a promotional opportunity within MVE. In addition to core mission duties, their main function includes inspections of hazardous material packages, as well as inspections of vehicles and drivers transporting hazardous materials. Theses specialists with high level of knowledge, assist Motor Vehicle officers, other law enforcement, first responders, and government agencies. Hazardous materials specialists provide expertise during incidents involving hazardous material spills and commercial motor vehicle crashes. Examples of the materials they work with are flammable, corrosive, poisonous, and radioactive in nature.

Hazardous materials specialists work closely with the motor carrier industry to educate the shippers, receivers, and transporters of dangerous goods located in warehouses and on our highway system. They provide industry outreach and free onsite training to enhance highway safety and freight movement.

Hazardous materials questions can be sent to MVE9@iowadot.us. In case of emergency please call 911.


Motor Carrier Investigations

A motor carrier investigator is a promotional opportunity within MVE. In addition to core mission duties, these officers assist new trucking companies by completing new entrant motor carrier safety audits. These safety audits (or SAs) are conducted within 12 months of starting a business/operation and helps establish a more in-depth safety management practice. The main goal of the safety audit is to educate carriers on topics of commercial driver’s license requirements, drug and alcohol testing applicability, hours of service requirements, and federal safety regulations as they apply to the carrier. The program also allows motor carriers to have an investigator to contact with future questions and assist them in understanding the laws and regulations ttrhat apply to their specific business/operation. They are the first step in the highway safety process for many motor carriers.

Motor carriers that fail a safety audit or fail to respond to a safety audit request, can have their registration and authority revoked. This information can also be shared with our U.S. Department of Transportation counterparts and may be used in cases where a carrier has a compliance review.

Motor carrier investigations questions can be sent to MVE9@iowadot.us


TRAINING

In pursuit of safety and compliance with state law/federal code, Motor Vehicle Enforcement offers free onsite training services statewide. We provide training to the motor carrier industry, fellow law enforcement, government entities, social groups, and educational institutions on many topics. Common requests include, but are not limited to, vehicle size and weight training, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) equipment, safety inspections, CDL, and human trafficking.

To request training, fill out the Motor Vehicle Training Request form and email it to MVE8@iowadot.us.



MVE roadside and weigh station activities



Size and weight enforcement

MVE officers enforce Iowa’s size laws using our weigh stations and public weigh scales.. Each officer is issued 6-8 portable scales to be used roadside checking compliance with Iowa’s weigh laws, accurately, quickly, and conveniently.