Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

How to Avoid Aggravation During a DOT Surprise Inspection

August 03, 2017, by Les Smart

To prepare for vehicle inspections, make a decal that shows the date of the last inspection, includling the company who performed that inspection. Photo courtesy of Les Smart
To prepare for vehicle inspections, make a decal that shows the date of the last inspection, includling the company who performed that inspection. Photo courtesy of Les Smart

All commercial motor vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds are subject to surprise inspections from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and state agencies. Those inspections can be a hassle, but there are ways to make the process easier on the fleet driver and owner. Here are a few tips to avoid aggravation during an inspection.

If the inspection is road side, always carry a copy of the mandated annual inspection in the cab of the commercial vehicle so it can be immediately handed to the officer detaining the vehicle.

What other documents should be carried in the truck cab at all times? The vehicle’s registration, an insurance card or paper showing valid insurance coverage from your insurance company, and a copy of the previous day’s DVIR (daily vehicle inspection report).

You should also make decals that show the date of the last inspection. The decals should be 3 inches by 5 inches at a minimum. The lettering should be in black type on a white, yellow, or orange background. The inspection date should be entered with a waterproof marker or other permanent method. Attractive? No. Effective? Yes.

Also, the company that performed the annual inspection should be clearly identified on the decal. This way, the inspection date is clearly seen by your fleet personnel without needing to open the cab door or needing to search for documents.

The decals should be affixed, with the appropriate inspection date entered, to the driver’s side fender or the left front corner of the driver’s door. That way, it is readily available and visible to the officer standing beside the truck.

Les Smart is president of Smart Fleet Management, a small and medium fleet consulting company. He can be reached at [email protected]

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