To pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) inspection, you must be able to provide evidence of proper maintenance and safety practices, which is the minimum requirement for operating any vehicle on public roads or interstate commerce. However, DOT inspections can also help ensure that your vehicle is safe for passengers and other drivers in the case of an accident. In addition, getting your truck inspected regularly helps prevent accidents by identifying potential issues before they become serious issues.
You can ensure you will pass your inspection in many significant areas. Here are some common tips to lessen your time in the inspection so you can get back on the road and to your destinations on time.
Properly maintain vehicles
Proper maintenance is required by law and is good for your wallet, business, and employees. To pass a DOT inspection, you must ensure your vehicles are adequately maintained to pass a DOT inspection. Properly maintained vehicles are safer for everyone on the road.
Update log books
The DOT requires that all drivers of commercial vehicles keep a log book to record hours spent driving. Drivers must keep the log book in the truck at all times, and the driver must make sure it is available for inspection by the DOT officer at any time during an inspection.
The DOT also requires that companies keep a copy of their drivers' log books on file for two years after their expiration date, which allows them to be audited for compliance with DOT regulations.
Secure your load
Securing your load is extremely important. If a shipment isn't properly secured, it can become a safety hazard and cause severe damage to the vehicle, other drivers, and pedestrians. You should ensure that the load is tied down or strapped to the truck with chains, straps, or ropes, so it doesn't move around while driving.
It's also essential to check your load when you stop along your route or at businesses along the way since items can shift during transit. You'll want to ensure everything is fastened securely before moving forward.
Check your lights and brakes.
Well-maintained brakes and lights will help keep you safe on the road and ensure your car doesn't fail its inspection. A quick walk around will ensure all your lights are up to snuff and should be completed even when driving during daylight hours.
Inspect your wheels
The most important part of the inspection will be the tires. The inspector will look for cracks, damage, wear, and corrosion. Tires worn below industry standards in depth or those with visible cords are considered unsafe and cannot be used on public roads.
Verify axle weights and suspension
While at the scale, check that the axle weights are within legal limits. If they are not, they will be flagged, and you will need to bring your vehicle back for a re-inspection. Make sure to also inspect the suspension for damage and wear.
Check your hoses, lines, and tanks.
The next thing you'll want to check is your hoses, lines, and tanks. These should be in good shape, with no leaks or loose fittings. If there are holes, they should be repaired or replaced. Ensure all connections are secured tightly enough to not leak under pressure or on the road.
Maintain a clean driving record
If you maintain a clean driving record, you'll be less likely to be inspected and more likely to pass. Inspectors look at the last three years of your DOT record before conducting the initial inspection of your commercial vehicle. If there are significant violations within one year from their initial inspection, they may hold you until those issues are addressed.
Follow all HOS rules.
You are expected to follow the HOS rules, which are in place for a reason. These hours of Service rules regulate how long you can drive for a day and how much rest you must get between travel.
Next time you're inspected, you'll be ready.
Now that you've got a better handle on the ins and outs of DOT inspections, you can rest easy knowing that your vehicle complies. The next time you're heading to an inspection station, take comfort in knowing that your rig has been adequately maintained and is ready for inspection. And don't forget to keep your logbook updated!
Hopefully, these tips will help you get through a DOT inspection. Inspections can be costly depending on what needs to be repaired or replaced. However, they're also crucial in ensuring that drivers are safe when behind and on the road with other vehicles.
At Distance Trucking, we work hard to ensure all our trucks are well maintained and our drivers understand the unique nature of DOT inspection stations. Our goal is to keep commerce moving quickly, safely, and efficiently through inspection so we can make all deliveries on time and at the correct destination. To learn more about our services, please feel free to reach out to our professional trucking company team.