Passing a DOT inspection is a regular event in the life of a professional truck driver. However, a failed inspection will cost you on average $851, excluding fines and repair expenses. And that cost can go up – way up. If the inspection results in an out of service violation it will not only come with a fine and a ticket, the vehicle may have to remain out of service until the problem is corrected. And a truck that’s off the road costs the truck driver a lot of money. That’s why we’ve put together these 3 Tips for Passing a DOT Level 1 Inspection.
Keep Your Paperwork Organized
During a DOT Level 1 inspection, your paperwork is one of the things that will be checked. Keep these documents organized to help this part of the inspection go smoothly:
- Driver’s License
- Driver’s daily log and hours of service
- Driver and vehicle inspection report
- Medical card and waiver
- Alcohol and drugs listings
- Hazmat documents
Conduct Preventive Maintenance on your Truck
DOT inspectors will also conduct a thorough inspection of your truck as a part of a NAS Level 1 stop. It’s too late to maintain your truck at this point, so make sure you proactively check these truck maintenance checklist items during every pre-trip, and promptly take care of any issues:
- Coupling devices
- Fuel and exhaust systems
- Frame, van, and open top trailers
- Securement of cargo
- Tires, wheels, rims, and hubs
- Safety Equipment
Maintain a Positive Attitude Throughout the Inspection
It’s important to remember the DOT is not the enemy, and inspectors are there to help ensure the safety of US highways – and of you. If you keep a positive attitude and treat your inspector with respect they will be more incented to get you through your inspection as efficiently as possible. This can include:
Be polite and professional to the inspector at all times: Be patient and gracious to the best of your ability. At the end of the day, they are doing their best to perform their job duties and finish on time. Sound familiar?
Listen and follow directions: Be sure to listen carefully when you are receiving multiple instructions in a short period of time. Feel free to ask for clarification. If something isn’t clear, ask for an explanation.
Ask for clarification: If you receive a violation you disagree with don’t instigate a fight. Instead, ask the inspector for clarification. If you still do not agree, do not take it out on the inspector. Contact your supervisor immediately. If you were truly written up in error, the company can file a “Data Q” to dispute the violation. Arguing out of disappointment may lead to an unnecessary and unprofitable escalation. Accept the findings and report to your Driver Manager as soon as possible.
Different states handle inspections differently, so when you pull into an inspection site keep an eye out for directions. If you’ve followed these 3 Tips for Passing a DOT Level 1 Inspection, you could get back on the road more quickly.