The Concept of Dot truck inspection checklist

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To ensure roadway safety, all commercial vehicles are to pass the dot inspection checklist by the Department of Transport (DoT). During the inspection, the vehicle along with all its parts and accessories will be inspected to ensure they are in optimum performance level and safe for road safety. Below we have come up with the detailed DOT truck inspection checklist to ensure that you are ready for the thorough inspection by the DoT and avoid any penalties.

The six levels of truck DoT inspection

The DoT inspection truck inspection program in the North-America comprises of six robust levels of inspections which are to be performed by officials to ensure fitness and road safety standards of the vehicle, as well as, to ensure that the vehicle meets all laws and regulations. Out of the six inspection levels, level one is the most performed inspection, whereas, levels two, three, and five are also fairly common. The important part to note is that most of the time truck driver pre-trip inspection checklist isn’t known by the drivers and officials can perform any level of inspection. Thereby, truck drivers need to stay updated with the requirements for all the six inspection levels.

Level I: North American Standard Inspection

The level one truck inspection is one of the most detailed and thorough truck inspections. It is also the most frequently conducted inspection level by the officials. At this inspection level, the officials will be inspecting the entire vehicle including all the parts and accessories. The inspection will be done for cargo securement, braking system, battery, lighting, tires, and other systems and parts.

Apart from inspecting the vehicle, the officials also conduct sessions with the drivers to check the alcohol or drug usage signs, as well as, check their knowledge of the safety regulations like the use of seat belts, lighting and others. In a case where the vehicle is found in violation of regulations, it may be put out of service by the officer.

Level II: Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection

The truck inspection checklist for level two is pretty similar to the level one, with the exception that in level two inspection the officer doesn’t check the parts/accessories of the vehicles which can be check by going underneath the vehicle. Instead, here the officer only inspects the parts/accessories by walking around the vehicle, along with the drivers’ credentials and documentation.

Level III: Driver-Only Inspection

The level three truck inspection checklists only include inspection of the documentation and credential of drivers. Some of the items to prepare for level three inspection include:

  • Driving license
  • Hours of Service (HOS)
  • Electronic logging device(ELD)
  • Driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR)
  • Record of duty status (RODS)

Level IV: Special Inspections

Level four inspections are easy and rare. Inspection at this stage is conduction for a particular item for instance engine or the documentation. This is usually done for research purposes only.

Level V: Vehicle-Only Inspection

The level five inspection is pretty similar to the level one inspection, with the exception that at this level there is no inspection for the driver’s documentation of knowledge about safe driving. Also, there is no need for the driver to be present with the DoT during the level five inspection.

Level VI: Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments

This level of inspection is exclusively conducted for commercial vehicles and trucks carrying hazardous freight (radiological shipment, nuclear waste, medical waste, etc.).


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