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DOT Inspection: Everything You Need to Know

DOT Inspections

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all commercial motor vehicles to receive a DOT Inspection every 12 months by a qualified inspector who has training or certification to inspect and maintain commercial motor vehicles. The U.S. Department of Transportation defines commercial motor vehicles as every vehicle in a combination vehicle. These types of vehicles include:

  • Tractor semitrailer
  • Full trailer combination
  • Tractors
  • Semitrailers
  • Full trailers

DOT Inspection Expectations

You can get pulled over for a DOT inspection anywhere at any time. Some of the more popular areas where roadside checks occur are at tuck stops, weigh stations, and on the side of the highway. It is likely that DOT officer will approach your vehicle with caution so it’s best that you have polite mannerisms throughout the entire inspection. Your demeanor throughout the process will determine how thorough of an inspection the officer does, as well as the cleanliness of your truck. Officers aren’t required to provide a reason for pulling over commercial vehicles, so be aware. 

DOT Inspections

Preparing for DOT Inspections

With a well maintained vehicle, a majority of commercial motor drivers can expect the inspection to last less than an hour. Any longer than that, it’s likely that the driver’s vehicle has not been properly maintained. Having good knowledge about the inspection process and regularly cleaning your equipment will ensure that the inspections goes as smooth and quickly as possible.

DOT Inspection Outcomes

There are two things that can happen if violations are found; the vehicle can be placed on OOS or not. If the violation is not too significant, then the driver will not be placed on OOS but will have to get the repairs done within 15 days of the inspection and the driver must sign and send a report to the FMCSA disclosing that all repairs were taken care of during that period of time. If the vehicle inspected is found to present an immediate danger to other drivers on the road, then the driver and vehicle will be put on OOS. This means they cannot operate their vehicle until all repairs have been made and reported.

If the carrier’s vehicle passes the inspection and no violations are discovered, then the officer places a CVSA sticker on the vehicle which lasts up to 3 months. A vehicle with this decal likely will not be pulled over for another check unless it’s for an extreme circumstance.

Avoid a Citation

Don’t be cited for a DOT violation that could have been easily prevented. Bring your struck or trailer into our shop for a thorough inspection. Our experienced technicians will go through your vehicle and give you the peace of mind you need knowing that your vehicle is safe and free of potential costly violations. With the increased number of DOT citations in the area, let’s make sure your truck is safe for you and those around you.