This Wasn’t Our Plan Either! How DOT Inspections Affect Freight Delivery

We’ve all seen them – inspection stations along the side of the highway, with lines of trucks and trailers awaiting inspection by a Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) inspectors.

There are in fact six levels of roadside inspection that the Federal government mandates and inspections can last anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour.

What all Wadhams freight customers need to know: our drivers are obligated by law to submit to inspections, and cannot control their timing or duration. Understanding how we respond to and meet DOT regulations allows our customers to know our business and our service better

What really goes on at a roadside inspection?

A DOT inspector is empowered to investigate everything from the contents and orderliness of the driver’s cab, to documentation and licensing, to the wheels, fuel and lighting systems, brakes, coupling devices and more.

Wadhams drivers prepare for these inspections by performing pre- and post-trip inspections of their own vehicles at the terminal, and by keeping their vehicles, selves and personal belongings neat and orderly.

Inspection Goals & Violation

The goal of the inspection is to determine whether drivers they are in compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and/or Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs.) Fines for a roadside violation can range anywhere from $150 – $1250.

Serious violations result in the issuance of driver or vehicle OOS orders. These violations must be corrected before the affected driver or vehicle can return to service.

When An Inspection Is Over

If a driver is involved in a roadside Department of Transportation inspection, they will first receive a report from the officer. The rules regarding these reports include:

·   All reports must be turned into a company terminal the next business day.

·   If there are any citations as a result of the inspection, they must be turned in as well.

·   Any equipment defects need to be written up on a company Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) and reported immediately.

ARG and Wadhams drivers never operate a tractor or trailer that has been put out of service, which can result in criminal charges against the driver. All inspections must be recorded in driver’s daily log.

It Doesn’t End There

When trucks return to their terminals, managers and dispatch supervisors are responsible for seeing that the completed forms are sent to the Corporate Safety Department in a timely fashion. If the driver receives a citation with the inspection, they are to contact the Safety Department for a determination on how to plead (guilty- not guilty) before you send in the paperwork 

Shop Responsibilities

If any required repairs are discovered while inspecting the unit, it then goes to the shop to receive the restorations that are needed. The responsibilities of the shop are to:

·   Make sure the DOT report is attached to the work order to show that the repairs have been completed.

·   Have the repairs finished and have the report sent back in fifteen days or less. 

Knowledge is power, so help us spread the word. Please feel free to share this article with any freight customers you know! 

Don Guay

Don Guay

A 23-year veteran of the New York State Troopers, Don Guay spent six years with the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit doing roadside inspections. Today, he uses his experience and training to ensure RIST drivers and equipment adhere to the highest standards. As safety manager, Don is responsible for overseeing inspection reports, safety department checks, investigations, and training. He jokes that he left the “dark side” and came to the good side, representing and protecting RIST drivers, our customers and their freight, and the general motoring public. Safety is more than a checklist; it is our top priority.