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What are the six levels of DOT truck inspections?

Federal trucking regulations require truck drivers and trucking companies to meet certain standards such as regular maintenance of the vehicles. Additionally, truck drivers are required to have special licensure and up-to-date medical information. In order to ensure that the vehicle and driver are complying with these regulations, the Department of Transportation conducts inspections. A driver and truck could encounter one or more levels of inspection to verify compliance.

What are the six levels of DOT truck inspections? The first level is a standard inspection and includes looking at important documents that a driver should have as well as an evaluation of the vehicle. This ensures that everything is up-to-date, up-to-code and safe for travel. A level two inspection involves everything in a level one inspection as well as a walk-around inspection of the vehicle. The professional inspecting the vehicle will examine everything that would not require him or her to get under the truck.

Next, a level three inspection is considered a driver-only inspection. This includes an in-depth look at the truck driver, their licensures, medical certification, trucking logs and hours of service. A level four inspection is known as a special inspection. These are for one-time examinations and are for looking at a specific item. These are often conducted to invalidate a previous claim made against the vehicle being inspected.

A level five inspection is a vehicle-only inspection. This inspection is just like a level one inspection except it is executed without the driver of the truck being present. Lastly, a level six inspection is conducted for enhanced inspection for radioactive shipments. If a truck has radiological shipments, this specialized inspection is used to ensure the quantity and route of the vehicle.

These different levels of inspections are conducted to help ensure the driver is properly licenses and is following all rules, and that the vehicle is safe to drive. Failure to comply with an inspection or have one conducted could create dangers on the roadways. This could also be used as evidence for negligence if a truck accident were to occur and injure another party. Following a truck accident, those harmed should understand the requirements of truck drivers and their vehicles. Ensuring federal trucking regulations are complied with is critical, and failing to do so could be hazardous.

Source:, "The six levels of DOT inspections," accessed Aug. 23, 2015

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