DOT Inspection: What You Should Expect

All commercial vehicles over 10,001 pounds and their drivers are subject to annual inspections by the U.S. Department of Transportation, or DOT.  This is done to ensure that the vehicle is in good working order, the driver is properly licensed, and that no laws or regulations regarding commercial driving are being broken.  There are six levels of inspection that may be done, depending on the type of vehicle being driven and the cargo inside of it.  Here’s a breakdown of each level:

Level 1 – North American Standard Inspection

During a Level 1 inspection, the inspector will look over important documents, such as the driver’s license, daily log, medical certificate, and the driver and vehicle inspection report.  Parts of the vehicle will be examined as well, included the turn signals, seat belts, front and rear lights, exhaust system, brakes, fuel system, wheels, and the steering wheel.

Level 2 – Walk-Around Driver and Vehicle Inspection

Level 2 inspections include everything that is examined in Level 1, except for parts that would require the inspector to get underneath the vehicle.

Level 3 – Driver-Only Inspection

The Level 3 Driver-Only Inspection works exactly how it sounds – just the driver undergoes examination. This means the driver’s license, medical certificate, log, inspection report, and Hazmat requirements are inspected.  The seat belt may also be inspected because it functions to protect the driver.

Level 4 – Special Inspection

Level 4 inspections are performed simply to address a specific item. Usually, these are done in response to a previous claim to ensure that the issue has been fixed or resolved.

Level 5 – Vehicle-Only Inspection

Level 5 inspections are a lot like Level 1 inspections – in fact, they cover everything a Level 1 inspection does.  The only difference is that Level 5 inspections do not require the driver to be present.

Level 6 – Enhances NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments

Level 6 inspections will not apply to most commercial drivers as they are focused solely on radioactive shipments.  During a Level 6 inspection, the inspector will check for radioactive materials and ensure that all regulations and guidelines are being followed properly.

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