A Department of Transportation (DOT) inspection refers to a safety practice that the DOT performs. Under this measure, a DOT inspector or a designated officer executes a thorough inspection of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to make sure that they are fit for road travel without putting anyone in danger.
A DOT inspection is one of the most critical parts of any commercial vehicle business, whether it runs as a large-scale logistics entity or a smaller trucking operation. Passing a DOT inspection allows your business to continue running under the approval of the DOT. It ensures that you are complying with all safety standards set in place by the agency.
To help you understand more about DOT inspections and their associated checks, here’s a lowdown on what to expect in a DOT inspection.
DOT inspections are categorized into different segments, called levels. There are various DOT inspection levels, with each of them holding varied activities under their label.
The levels of inspection include the following:
One of the most important factors about DOT inspections is that they are not limited to the CMV in question. Some levels of DOT inspections also look at the driver’s associated documents. This ensures that the person operating the vehicle on the road is fit and qualified to handle the responsibility.
All CMVs that are manufactured to operate on the road are required to undergo at least one DOT inspection on an annual basis. This makes sure that the vehicle and its associated driver are in complete compliance with DOT guidelines and road safety measures.
A DOT inspection’s associated activities largely depend on its level and the reason behind the inspection. As defined above, DOT inspections' levels differentiate from each other mostly due to their included activities.
Here are the type of measures you can expect from each level of a DOT inspection.
This inspection includes a thorough evaluation of both the CMV and its driver.
The activities included in this level are outlined below.
In certain situations, other checks, such as looking into the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) is also required for the driver’s safety.
Some additional requirements may also be invoked on a case-to-case basis. For instance, checking for emergency exits may come into the picture if you are driving a passenger CMV such as a bus.
This level typically includes all of the items that are mentioned in Level I. However, there is a consensus that this type of inspection steers clear of any requirements that cause the inspector to get under the CMV physically.
As the name suggests, this DOT inspection is restricted to the driver’s credentials, capabilities, and duty records. This typically includes the driver’s inspection items specified in a Level I inspection.
These inspections are only taken into account by special circumstances such as the analysis of larger trends or record of notes regarding a study. They are only restricted to special parts of the vehicle.
This level of the DOT inspection typically includes all vehicle-based inspection items from Level I. The only difference is that the inspection is performed in the absence of the CMV’s driver.
This inspection is executed when there is a presence of transuranic waste and radioactive materials. This segment includes varied levels of activities that specifically ensure safe movement and transportation of such substances.
This DOT inspection refers to any inspection activity that doesn’t fall under other inspection categories' sections or levels. This typically applies to CMVs such as shared-ride vehicles and school buses. The activities at this level may also vary due to this reason.
This inspection includes items such as power unit registration and GPS data verification. This may also include verification of the driver’s documents and their association with the vehicle in question.
Depending upon your business, you may be required to go through just one or two of the mentioned vehicle inspection levels. But in any case, you must keep your vehicle in optimal shape to pass the inspection with flying colors.
If you have any questions regarding the process or need expert assistance to prepare your CMV for a DOT inspection , don’t hesitate to contact us today. We will be happy to answer your inquiries and help you maintain your vehicle for optimal functionality.