Any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that weighs more than 10,000 pounds must go through annual dot inspections. If you’re unfamiliar, a DOT inspection is an inspection by the Department of Transportation that checks to see if all CMV parts and accessories are safe, in good condition, and work properly.
What to Know About DOT Inspections
Always Be Prepared for Inspection & Know What to Expect
The more prepared you are, the smoother your inspection will go. You should always have the appropriate paperwork on you, so that should already be in order.
As the operator of the vehicle, you are required to provide:
- Driver’s license
- Driver’s daily log and hours of service
- Driver and Vehicle Inspection Report
They might also check for:
- Medical card and waiver
- Alcohol and/or drugs
- Hazmat requirements
For the vehicle inspection itself, they’ll look at the following, and potentially more:
- Seat belt
- Brake lamps
- Coupling devices
- Exhaust system
- Emergency exits and/or electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments (buses)
- Fuel system
- Lamps on projecting loads
- Safe loading
- Securement of cargo
- Steering mechanism
- Stop Lamps
- Tail lamps
- Trailer bodies
- Turn signals
- Wheels, rims, and hubcaps
- Windshield wipers
The Best Preventative Measures
It may already be part of your routine, but it’s always a good practice to check for defective or potential problems. Perform simple walk-around inspections and check your tires, test your lights, look for cracks in your windows, or anything that might be out of place.
The Goal is Education
The goal of DOT inspections is to educate companies and drivers about potential hazards, current laws and regulations, and safety components. Keep in mind that the officer is just doing their job, and that the goal of these inspections is not to inconvenience you or run up fines. The more you’re aware of the rules and regulations, the smoother your inspection will go and the safer you and your cargo will be.