Truckers: Keep DOT Inspectors Off Your Back

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DOT Inspector Inspecting Trucker

Every truck driver must go through the experience of a roadside inspection. Some drivers are put through these inspections more often than others. Whether you pass or fail, these inspections can take serious time away from your driving. Here are tips that will help you keep those DOT inspectors off of your back:

1. Federal Requirements

Be sure that you are intimately familiar with federal requirements for commercial vehicles as outlined by 49 CFR 390.5, as it pertains to vehicles used to transport property or passengers. Also study the rules pertaining to drivers as outlined in 49 CFR 391.11. Knowing and following federal requirements is the first step in ensuring compliance. If you find that you are unknowingly out of compliance with these guidelines, take the steps to correct issues immediately.

2. Regular Maintenance

Keep your fleet well-maintained. Whether you are the owner of a trucking company or an owner-operator, the proper maintenance of your vehicles is essential. Inspect every vehicle before it heads down the road. Ensure that all lights and lamps are in working order, company names and USDOT numbers are located on both sides of the vehicle, and that brakes, hinges and tires are within compliance. Inspections should occur at the beginning and end of every shift.

Truckers: Keep DOT Inspectors Off Your Back

3. Training

All drivers should be trained in roadside inspection procedures. Additionally, drivers should be trained how to answer DOT questions during the inspection process. When your employees know what to expect and how to best comply with the process, the inspection is automatically made smoother. An inspection that goes as it should has your rig back on the road and making you money. If you’re employees are unaware of how to handle a DOT inspection, or you yourself are unaware of the procedures, immediate training is necessary.

4. Cleanliness

You’ve heard the phrase “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” This could not be truer for truckers driving down the highway. Ensure that your rig is clean and professional in appearance. A dirty, ill-maintained rig virtually calls out to be signaled to the side of the road. While dirt and grime are hazards of the roadway, keeping your vehicles as clean as possible will keep the DOT inspectors looking for someone else to target.

5. Contact DOT

Some truckers are not aware that inspectors will help make sure their vehicles are in compliance. Before you haul anything, contact a professional inspector to give your vehicle the once-over. These professionals can point out potential compliance issues and help you resolve them before you get into hot water with a DOT enforcer. The money that you spend is well worth the money that you save by not having to deal with the DOT.

Don’t let a DOT inspection take your vehicle off of the road due to non-compliance. By keeping your rig well-maintained and clean, understanding federal regulations, and undergoing your own inspection, your rig can stay on the road. Roadside inspections do not have to be the hassle that you imagine them to be; with pre-planning and preparation on your part, they are stress-free events.

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Author Dan Nielson writes for truck blogs. Prepping for DOT inspections? Check out approved electric trailer jacks.