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What To Expect When You are Expecting A DOT Inspection

Whether you like it or not, all commercial motor vehicles (CMV) that ring in over 10,000 pounds must have an annual DOT inspection carried out. This essentially means that the Department of Transportation (DOT) will inspect the vehicle to ensure all the parts and accessories are in good working condition.

Three are six different types of a DOT inspection. In this week’s post, we are going to take a closer look at each initial type of inspection. In our next look at the DOT inspection series, we are going to dig deeper on what you should do in the case that a DOT inspection strikes.

DOT Inspection One – Standard North American Inspection

In this first, basic level of an inspection, the DOT inspector will do a thorough check of the truck drivers documents and logs. While inspecting the logs, the inspector will also check impairment, for drugs, alcohol or other hazardous materials.

Inspectors will be checking for:

  • Driver’s license
  • Driver’s daily log
  • Hours of service information
  • Medical card and waiver
  • Alcohol and/or drugs
  • Hazmat information or requirements

When the vehicle is examined, the inspector will pay extra special attention to the following:

  • Seat belts
  • Brakes
  • Lamps
  • Coupling devices
  • The exhaust system
  • Applicable emergency exists and electrical systems
  • Engine and battery systems and compartments
  • Vehicle frame
  • Fuel system
  • Headlamps
  • Tail lamps
  • Suspension
  • Signals
  • The trailer
  • Wheels and associated attachments
  • Wipers

DOT Inspection Two – Walk-Around Inspection

The number two inspection is pretty much the same as the number one inspection, but in this case the inspector doesn’t take a look at any parts of the vehicle that would require he or she to have to crawl under the truck.

The best way to ensure you are doing everything properly and are fully prepared to exit the inspection with a top score is to keep a DOT truck driver checklist or mobile app with you at all times. This way you can learn exactly what you need at exactly the moment you need it.

After all, being prepared is the only way to ensure you keep your safety profile looking and sounding fantastic.

DOT Inspection Three – Truck Driver Inspection

At this level of inspection, the inspector is concerned with one thing and one thing only: You.

They will make sure to check:

  • Driver’s license
  • Medical card
  • Daily log
  • Seat belt
  • Vehicle inspection report
  • Incident history
  • Hazmat (if applicable)

DOT Inspection Four – Special Inspection

This type of inspection is an examination focusing on a particular feature of the vehicle, whether it be the brakes, suspension, drive line or other mechanical component.

When this type of inspection occurs, it is generally done to verify a feature or mechanical component that needs a second look after a maintenance repair or refurbishing.

Whether it is to validate or invalidate a claim, this is usually done at the inspection level.

DOT Inspection Five – Vehicle-centric Inspection

A vehicle-only inspection is pretty much the same as a Level One DOT, except in this case the truck driver themselves are not present.

DOT Inspection Six – Enhanced Radioactive Inspection

All heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles that transport controlled quantities of radioactive materials must pass a standard Level Six.

These include inspecting for:

  • Radiological shipments
  • Procedural item
  • Level One enhancements
  • Out-of-service criteria

So with all the new inspection styles hitting the block, the next question is, how would a responsible truck driver keep himself in good shape when an inspection rolls around?

Well, we ae going to answer just that question in our next blog post when we examine the best strategies for breezing through your next surprise DOT inspection.

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