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Maintenance Files and Record Retention

Every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider should be able to demonstrate compliance through a good visible system of maintenance and documentation. To assist any effort in this regard, we recommend that a separate file be kept for each unit.

Excerpt from §396.3(b) Inspection, Repair and Maintenance

Required records. Motor carriers, except for a private motor carrier of passengers (nonbusiness), must maintain, or cause to be maintained, records for each motor vehicle they control for 30 consecutive days. Intermodal equipment providers must maintain or cause to be maintained, records for each unit of intermodal equipment they tender or intend to tender to a motor carrier. These records must include:

(1) An identification of the vehicle, including company number, if so marked, make, serial number, year, and tire size. In addition, if the vehicle is not owned by the carrier, the record shall identify the name of the person furnishing the vehicle;

(2) A means to indicate the nature and due date of the various inspection and maintenance operations to be performed;

(3) A record of inspection, repairs, and maintenance indicating their date and nature;

(4) A record of tests conducted on push-out windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights on buses.

Excerpt from §396.3(c) Inspection, Repair and Maintenance

The records required by this section shall be retained where the vehicle is either housed or maintained for a period of one year, and for six months after the motor vehicle leaves the motor carrier’s control

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