Maintaining a big rig is a huge responsibility, but is necessary to ensure safety and efficiency. The stability of your vehicle should never be taken for granted. That is what makes Department of Transportation (DOT) truck inspections such an important aspect of your job as a trucker. Being ready for an inspection makes pulling over for the DOT quick, painless, and a potential source of pride in receiving high marks.

What to Expect During a DOT Inspection

Every DOT officer carries the same checklist. Most truckers check their Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) items daily, so they can fix any problems before the DOT inspector points them out. This greatly reduces your chances of receiving a violation on your inspection. Even if you do not check your DVIR before every trip, keeping tabs on the things DOT officers check is crucial.

The standards listed on your DVIR are set by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), a partnership between government and industry professionals. The CVSA also determines out of service criteria.

Here is what to expect during various levels of DOT inspections:

Level 1 Full DOT truck inspection: This full-service inspection includes paperwork, the driver, and the vehicle. It is conducted at a parking area or check station. The inspector will check all over, in, and under the truck and trailer.
Level 2 Paperwork and walk-around inspection to check for obvious violations: During a level 2 inspection, the DOT officer will not crawl under the truck. This inspection may be conducted roadside.
Level 3 Driver and credential inspection: The DOT officer will check the driver’s paperwork and electronic log for violations.
Level 4 Special check inspection: These inspections help the DOT gather information for data studies. The procedure may be identical to Level 1. In most cases, special checks are mechanical.
Level 5 No driver involvement: These checks happen at a company facility as a result of a safety audit or compliance review.
Level 6 Transuranic waste and radioactive material hauling only: This is a comprehensive and meticulous inspection. Drivers hauling hazardous material are familiar with the process. If you are not hauling radioactive material or transuranic waste, you do not have to worry about a level 6 check.

Staying in compliance with DOT regulations will help you avoid accidents. Driver error, inclement weather conditions, and reckless drivers are frequent causes of traffic accidents. These incidents not only put you and your truck in danger, but they also make it difficult to get to your destination on time. Not to mention, an accident can leave a serious blemish on your driving record.

More than 5,000 people in passenger vehicles die every year in traffic accidents involving semi-trucks. 700 truck drivers die each year in these accidents, as well.

Vehicle defects like deflated tires, faulty braking systems, unsafe trailers, and engine malfunction can cause unexpected problems while traveling at high speeds. Having a federally-regulated safety program that complies with OSHA recommendations helps prevent crashes, protects equipment, and saves lives.

Finding Trucker Jobs with Viable Safety Programs

When searching for a new job, it is important to consider the company’s attitude toward safety. Does the fleet manager prioritize safety? Do the other drivers have good safety records? Does the company offer adequate safety training so that all drivers and fleet managers abide by the same rules and regulations?

Inspecting your truck can seem like a tedious process, especially when you go through the DVIR daily. However, shipping companies that are committed to safety help ease the burden for their drivers by conducting safety inspections instead of leaving them up to the driver.

At RCX Solutions, we do everything we can to make driving easy for our valued employees. Our in-house safety procedures and services keep drivers and equipment safe. We even handle truck inspections for you, so you can spend your valuable time doing what you do best—driving.

If you are interested in an owner-operator or company driver position with a highly-rated Little Rock trucking company, please call us today at 866-336-9697 to learn about our open jobs. You can even fill out an application online to start the onboarding process right away. We offer competitive pay, safety bonuses for company drivers and owner-operators, great benefits, and a family-like atmosphere. As an over-the-road or owner-operator truck driver with RCX Solutions, you will be glad you decided to join the best trucking company in Arkansas.