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What are the inspection requirements for commercial vehicles?

While large trucks such as tractor-trailers are an effective means to deliver large shipments across town, the state or even the nation, these vehicles pose many risks. Because of this, commercial vehicles must undergo inspection to ensure that the vehicle has been properly maintained and is safe for travel on the roadways.

What are the vehicle inspection requirements for commercial vehicles in Iowa? According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, a truck used in commerce that has a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds must be inspected. Trucks used in commerce that have a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less are not required to be inspected unless the vehicle is used in combination with a trailer.

If the vehicle will only be used in Iowa, and the combined weight of the truck and trailer is 26,000 pounds or less, then the vehicle is exempt from the state's annual inspection requirements. However, if the combined vehicle will be used in other states or for interstate commerce, the combined vehicle must be inspected annually if the combined truck and trailer weighs more than 10,000 pounds.

How often is a truck subjected to an inspection? If it is determined that a truck requires inspection based on the weight, the inspection report is valid for only 12 months. This means that every year the truck must be inspected. Once an inspection is completed, the truck driver must have a copy of the actual inspection report in the vehicle or display a decal attached to the vehicle.

If a driver fails to carry proof of inspection or fails to obtain timely inspections, this could show negligence if an accident were to occur. An investigation could reveal that the vehicle was not safe for travel, thus causing a serious or even fatal truck accident.

Victims of a commercial vehicle accident should understand that the investigation process could help determine the cause of an accident. If it is determined that a truck failed an inspection or was not inspected at all, those harmed in an accident could use this to place liability on the truck driver or even the truck company for the injuries, damages and losses caused by the accident.

Source:, "Vehicle Inspection Requirements," accessed June 21, 2015

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