Prevent road accidents by making sure trucks comply with road standards set by the Department of Transportation
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Also called a DOT truck inspection checklist, a truck inspection checklist is used to check trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds. It makes sure big and heavy trucks are roadworthy.
Since 6.5 percent of all accidents are caused by big trucks, the Department of Transportation requires all heavy vehicles to undergo testing to ensure that all parts and accessories are in good working condition.
The checklist is created for expert truck technicians to identify any mechanical issues or problems in heavy trucks. The checklist is done to get the truck and the driver ready for the DOT inspection.
Every year, truck drivers and their trucks undergo inspection to ensure that they comply with regulations. The inspection consists of six levels that usually lasts between 15 minutes and one hour. Being aware of these levels gives drivers an idea of what to expect and prepare for the inspection.
There are six levels of DOT truck inspection:
This is the most common and most thorough DOT inspection on the list. It includes a comprehensive checkup of both the driver and the truck.
Some of the documents required in this inspection are the driver’s license, logs, hours of service (HOS) documentation, medical certificates, HAZMAT endorsements, and inspection reports.
The driver will also have to undergo drug testing to make sure he is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The vehicle will also be inspected if all its accessories and parts are in good working condition. That includes the brakes, suspensions, tires, steering wheel, headlamps, etc.
The NAS inspection usually lasts between 45 minutes and 1 hour.
It is similar to the Level 1 inspection and usually lasts 30 minutes. The only difference is that the inspector checking the truck doesn’t have to go under the vehicle to inspect it.
As the name suggests, this inspection will only check the driver and his credentials. The DOT inspector will look at the driver license, medical records, HAZMAT certifications, record of duty status (RODS), medical certification, HOS, skills performance evaluation, and vehicle inspection certificate.
This level of inspection focuses on checking a specific item. It confirms or denies any possible trends happening in DOT.
Only the vehicle undergoes inspection under this level. The DOT officer ensures all vehicle parts, such as the steering wheel, suspensions, cargo, tires, battery, emergency exits, etc.
This inspection is for drivers and their trucks that haul radioactive shipments or cargoes. Because the cargo they deal with is hazardous and high-risk, the criteria are stricter than other types of heavy-duty vehicles.
In 2020 alone, more than 12 percent of heavy-duty vehicles were put out of service after undergoing Level I, II, III, IV, and V inspections. At the same time, nearly 35 percent have been found guilty of hours-of-service violations.
Statistics also show that the brake system, tires, cargo securement, and brake adjustment are the top five violations.
Using a truck safety inspection checklist, here are other things to look out for to pass the annual DOT truck inspection.
To ensure that the vehicle is in its optimum condition, have it checked at the recommended intervals. If the technician discovers several mechanical issues during the pre-DOT inspection, have the problems fixed. The process will not only give a higher chance of passing but prevents accidents from happening.
The DOT inspection will have three possible outcomes, depending on how well-maintained the vehicle is and the driver's well-prepared. If you have prepared everything according to the truck driver pre-inspection checklist, you will pass and receive a “no violation” score. That means you and the truck you’re driving are cleared and ready to hit the road again.
If the inspector discovers errors or mistakes like your clearance light is out of shape, you’ll receive an out-of-service violation. While such a mistake is not major, you might still receive a ticket for it.
However, if the errors pose a danger to the general public's safety, you will receive an out-of-service violation. You will most probably receive a ticket and pay the penalty.
In order to avoid this, make sure that you have fulfilled all the necessary requirements on the truck inspection checklist before the DOT inspection takes place.
Truck inspections are most effective when they are performed thoroughly and regularly. The checklists should be easy to use and serve their purpose on the road. Traditionally, transportation companies use paper-based documents for the checks, which has the disadvantage that the information about the inspections is only available to the truck driver before it can be responsibly presented to others. In addition, it is easier to postpone the controls and not to carry them out at the scheduled time.
Lumiform, a powerful tool for audits and inspections, helps to easily record and immediately report defects and corrective actions while on the road. Digital checklists and forms make truck inspection processes more efficient and systematic. With truck inspection checklist from Lumiform, drivers and inspectors can: