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DOT Inspections: What You Should Be Prepared For

U.S. Department of Transportation Seal

Most commercial drivers do not like the mention of DOT inspections, but it doesn’t have to be so hard if you know what’s expected of you. It is advisable to be conversant with the different requirements needed during the various levels of a DOT inspection. A DOT inspection is a routine annual checkup for all commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) weighing over 10,000 pounds to ascertain their safety on the road.

Here is what all commercial drivers should know about a DOT inspection:

Have your paperwork ready
During a level 1 inspection, the driver should be ready for a full DOT inspection and hence have their paperwork near as well as set aside enough time for the vehicle inspectors to go through all the vehicle parts. Some of the paperwork includes your Valid commercial driver’s license, Hours-of-service documentation, Motor carrier registration, as well as all the required permits. As a driver, you should be prepared to spend the better part of your day doing inspections hence minimize your day’s plans to avoid frustrations.

Conduct a pre-trip inspection
Just imagine if drivers took at least 10 minutes before commencing their trip to conduct a thorough inspection of their truck. Such a routine will eliminate various violations that can be easily corrected before the trip.

Violations such as deflated tires may be fatal if undetected, checking of lights are also critical so that you don’t find yourself in a tight spot when you discover later in the trip that you are having malfunctioning lights.

Keep your vehicle in good condition
As a truck driver, you should always ensure that your vehicle is in excellent condition all the time because it is legal for an officer or inspector to stop you by the road and conduct an inspection which includes your driver’s paperwork as well as the general condition of the motor vehicle.
Before a DOT inspection, you should make sure that you have your electronic log and other supporting paperwork as they will be required for a level 3 inspection. If you do not have them with you, ensure that you know how to retrieve them to avoid unnecessary hassle.

Securing your cargo appropriately
If you are a commercial driver, you know that these inspections can happen at any time or place and therefore you must be keen to avoid failing a road inspection. It is essential to check your cargo to ensure that it is well secured so as not to pose any security risk. Unsecured cargo tops violations by many commercial drivers.

Make sure you know your vehicle controls
Sounds obvious right? But did you know that many drivers don’t know half of what is on their dashboard? As a driver make sure you know all the controls available in your vehicle so that you can clear with the inspection officers as quickly as possible.

Be ready to take instructions
During a DOT inspection, you should be able to stay calm and follow the many directions that will come your way during the process. Try to exercise patience and humility, and you will be on your way much faster. Take note that not cooperating with the inspection officer will only increase the time you spend at the inspection site.

Stay proactive about maintaining a safe truck by being aware of what each inspection criterion requires.

Is it time to replace your safety equipment, your Hi Vis clothing, or perhaps some lights on your truck? Now is the time to get everything ready for your next DOT inspection! East Coast Truck and Trailer Sales is your go-to place for truck parts, auto transport parts, and towing supplies.

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