DOT Inspection is done

DOT Inspection- 10 Things DOT Officers Look For

Yet, those days that truck drivers are on the road can make then nervous due to many things, starting from the fact that they are far away from home and from their loved ones, up to some complication that has happened with the truck.


So, sometimes when the truck drivers are being stopped by a DOT inspector they can get offended due to the fact that they have a lot of stuff on their head. But that attitude is not preferable at all.

Moreover, the best way for truck drivers to face a DOT inspection is through being courteous.

6. DOT INSPECTION: How Can Truck Drivers Prepare Themselves For DOT Inspection

So far I have spoken about the attitude of the truck drivers when they get stopped for DOT inspection. Now it is time to pass on the second most important part, which is to prepare themselves for DOT inspection.

Thereupon, truck drivers who are for a long time in the trucking industry know how to detect as well as to report the problems that they are having with their truck.

On the other hand we have the new truck drivers who sometimes don’t know how to face and detect problems for truck repair.


Due to that it is recommendable for both, experienced and new truck drivers to perform pre trip inspections on a regular basis in order to maintain the truck in the best possible condition.

The three most important steps that truck drivers should take in order to prepare themselves for a DOT inspection are the following ones.

7. Check The Tires

Tires tend to deflate slowly as time passes by. So, the very first thing that truck drivers should do is to check the tires.

Tires rarely blow out, but nevertheless, it is recommendable for truck drivers to check each tire for air by using a digital tire pressure gauge. If there is any problem the digital tire pressure gauge will show whether the tires are deflated or not.


Truck drivers often overlook the mudflaps. Each state has different set of rules and regulations concerning the class 8 truck mudflap usage. (The purpose of using mudflaps is to keep debris and spray tossed up by the tires from hitting the windshields)

8. Test The Lights

Safety is always on the first place, so speaking about that truck drivers should as well inspect if there are any malfunctioning lights or electric signals. These are the truck parts that can become a huge safety hazard if not functioning properly.


So, before truckers hit the road they should be sure to check the following truck parts:

  • The brake lights;
  • Headlights;
  • High Beams;
  • Low Beams;

9. Look For Cracks

Hairline cracks can happen every now and then due to flying gravel. Therefore, it is recommendable for truck drivers before they hit the road to check whether there are any crack on the windows.


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10. DOT INSPECTION: 6 Levels of Inspection

Let me make it clearer to you. DOT inspection is usually carried out by a state police officer or by a qualified DOT inspector. They have the right to inspect the carriers, to check all parts and accessories of the vehicles.

Thereupon, the reason why state police officers and qualified DOT inspectors are performing DOT inspection is due to ensuring that all commercial motor vehicles operating on the road are in a proper condition and are safe to be on the highways.


Moreover, the DOT inspection consists of six extensive levels. These six extensive levels include inspection of the commercial motor vehicle as well as inspection of the truck driver.

So let’s see in details what the six extensive levels of DOT inspection include:

1.    North American Standard Inspection

The first extensive level or better known as the North American Standard Inspection, includes a complete check of the driver’s documentation- the driver’s license, medical certificate, daily longs, HOS documents, driver and vehicle inspection reports as well as hazmat endorsements.


Hence, the DOT inspector while performing the North American Standard Inspection is able to check whether the truck driver is using alcohol, drugs or other hazardous materials that can harm the safety of all people engaged on the roads.

In addition, DOT inspectors are as well checking the following things:

  • Seat Belts;
  • Exhaust system;
  • Brakes;
  • Coupling devices;
  • Emergency exits;
  • Suspension;
  • Tires;
  • Trailer bodies;
  • Hubcaps;
  • Windshield wipers;
  • Frame, tail and headlamps;
  • Turn signals;
  • Steering wheel;
  • Rims and Fuel systems;
  • If the cargo is properly loaded and secured;

2.    Walk-Around Driver and Vehicle Inspection

The walk-around driver and vehicle inspection includes the inspection of all items of the truck that can be checked without physically getting under the truck.

3.    Driver Only Inspection

Truck drivers should prepare their credentials properly, because the third extensive DOT inspection level includes a driver only inspection during which the trucker will be checked for the following things:

  • Required endorsements;
  • CDL driver’s license;
  • RODS;
  • Hazmat endorsements;
  • Medical card and waiver;
  • Vehicle Inspection Report;
  • Skill performance evaluation certificate;
  • HOS documentation;
  • Seat belt usage;
  • Possible use of alcohol or drugs;

4.    Special Inspection

Special inspections are dedicated for a one-time examination of a particular item.

5.    Vehicle-Only Inspection

The vehicle only inspection includes a complete check of the vehicle, altogether with everything that is part from the level 1 inspection. This type of inspection should be performed without truck driver’s presence.

Moreover, the vehicle only inspection includes:

  • Brake and fuel systems;
  • Suspensions;
  • Tires and wheel assemblies;
  • Cargo securement and coupling devices;
  • Open-top trailer bodies;
  • Electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments;
  • Windshield wipers and emergency exits;
  • Steering mechanism and lighting devices;

6.    Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments

The North American Standard Inspection for Transuranic Waste and HRCQ- Highway Route Controlled Quantities of Radioactive Material involves the inspection of:

  • Inspection for radiological shipments;
  • Enhancements to Level 1 inspection;
  • Radiological requirements;
  • Enhanced out of service criteria;


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