What is a DOT Inspection?

You see our posts about DOT Inspectionsccertification all the time, but if you are new to the industry you might not know what all that entails. The Department of Transportation requires any vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds to go through an annual inspection with a certified inspector. There are six main areas that are looked at an inspection including, general, driver, operational, vehicle, hazardous material, and accidents. All of these sections may take anywhere from two and a half to three hours to complete.

What should I expect to happen in each section?

The general inspection will look at things that fall on the company’s shoulders such as the insurance that is on the vehicle and the employee training records.

The next section will dig deeper into what the drivers are responsible for such as obtaining the proper CDL license. Other items include records like random drug and alcohol testing, initial application and employment history, personal motor vehicle records, and sometimes a physical exam.

In the operational inspection will include driver hour logs for the last six months. This section has a great dependency on your state’s rules and regulations.

During the vehicle inspection section, the truck itself will be examined. Things like breaks, lights, tires, and seat belts will most definitely be looked at. An up to date maintenance record from the past year is very important to have to provide to the inspector.

If you are a company that does not transport hazardous materials than the next section is irrelevant to you. However, this step in the inspection is critical for companies that do handle hazardous waste. One major detail that will be looked at is that there is a “H” on the drivers CDL. Having all materials that contain or directly hold hazardous materials must clearly be labeled.

The last area that will be inspected is accident reports. Companies are required to accurately keep records of any accidents that have within the last three years.

At MAG all of our trucks go through this certification before leaving the lot. Now that you know what to expect in the future inspections are you ready to purchase a step van?


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