DOT checks are thorough. They are specifically designed to inspect every aspect of your truck. Officers are trained to catch any and all inconsistencies in your vehicle, and knowing how to handle them can be tricky, especially if you are a new driver.
DOT Checks – Stay in the Vehicle
DOT officers want you to stay in the truck. It is similar to being pulled over by a police officer. Stay in the driver’s seat, keep your hands on the wheel, and keep your seatbelt on this will be the case until they walk up to your window. This is when they engage in conversation with you.
The conversation part is for the officer to inspect the inside of the truck. They want to view the quality of the cab and especially the floor.
This portion is to check if they can smell any sort of drugs or alcohol. They want to be able to spot anything incriminating stashed on the floor. Any empty beer can, tiny burns or ash on the carpet is an indicator of drug use.
The best way to handle this is to comply. If there is a reason for concern, and you refuse inspection, the DOT officer will call local law enforcement.
Engaging in Conversation – Watch Out
The DOT officer is going to want to talk to you. Their goal is to inquire or notice any sort of slip up from the driver. Nervous drivers will make mistakes. Thus, this will cause suspicion. Officers can throw curveball questions at a driver, which can catch them off guard. In order to comply as effectively as possible, be confident in your answers.
DOT Check – Tires
Officers will check the quality of your tires. Thus, having any bald spot or any inconsistency will create cause for concern
New Paint Can Cause Concern
Rust is a major concern in the trucking industry. Any indicator of rust will create not just a mark on your truck, but a mark on your record. New paint can show that you are covering up a rust spot, so make sure that your vehicle is rust free before traveling. Anything that hides a defect is an automatic “out of service”
DOT Checks – Reflective Tape
There area unit 2 styles of approved DOT reflective tape. Red and white patterned tape, used for the rear and bottom of the edges of trailers, should be 2 inches wide. The second sort is white or silver reflective tape, used for the highest of the truck’s backside. whereas there are many sorts of reflective tape, the tape meeting DOT needs should have “DOT C2” on the label.
Depending on what state you are pulled over in, not having the right tape or missing tape can be considered an instant “out of service”. So be careful!
This one is easy and obvious. If you do not have a spare tire secured in the rack, your truck gets an automatic “Out of Service”.
DOT Checks – Faulty Trailer Attachment
Unsecured tandem sliders and faulty fifth wheel attachments are some of the most common issues most truckers have during DOT checks. This is also an extremely important safety feature that MUST be obeyed among the rest of the above mentioned.