If you run a trucking company in the United States, you know that your trucks are supposed to be inspected before and after every trip. You also know that you have to file the records of those inspections electronically. You know one of your trucks could be stopped at any time for a roadside inspection, and if it should fail, you might be in big trouble.
According to this website: Commercial truck insurance – Simplex Group, if you have a truck that is over 10,001 pounds in combined weight and crosses state lines in the course of business, it is required to have an annual inspection by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration. These inspections can be performed by a third party.
The inspections are quite rigorous, and you should always have a trained mechanic look over your truck before it goes in for its annual inspection. They should fix anything that could be construed as a problem.
What happens if a vehicle fails an inspection?
If your vehicle does not pass an inspection, it may be subject to additional fines, and your company may be audited. Your vehicle may even be taken off the road for some time, which can be extremely expensive.
Who can work as an inspector?
The FMCSA states that an inspector is anyone who understands the working of a commercial truck and the rules of the DOT. The person doing the examination must be knowledgeable and understand the procedures, equipment, and tools used to perform the inspection. They must be physically capable of performing the inspection and have training and experience in trucking.
If a truck has been pulled over to the side of the road for a random roadside inspection and passes that inspection, that truck will be exempt from having an annual inspection for the next 12 months.
Certain states require truckers to pass an annual inspection. The FMCSA does not see the point in having a truck undergo two annual inspections. Therefore, if your business is in a state requiring annual truck inspections, you will be exempt from the DOT inspection. These states include:
● District of Columbia
● New Hampshire
● New Jersey
● New York
● Rhode Island
● West Virginia
During the inspection, you will show records that you have kept for the particular vehicle. You must have paperwork proving that the truck is fully insured, and must have the FMCSA required amount of liability insurance. You must also have the forms MCS-90 or MCS-82 signed by your insurance provider. You will have to provide documentation of any accidents in which the truck has been involved.
You must have a record of any training you have provided to the driver or that the driver sought outside the company. If the vehicle has been used for training, that should be documented as well.
The general inspection will also include a walk around your vehicle to make sure that it has all of its appropriate stickers. It must have a DOT number and its IFTA decals.
The inspector will test all the major components of your truck, and will get underneath the vehicle. They will check the tire nuts and bolts and ensure the wheels are secure. They will check all of the lights and mirrors, as well as the steering mechanism.
The driver of the vehicle will be checked out as well. An inspector will make sure the driver has a Commercial Driver’s license that is not suspended and does not have any bad marks against it. They will also check if the driver has passed all recent tests for substances and make sure that any accidents have been reported.
Annual inspections are nothing to fear, so as long as you keep good records and make sure to perform your daily maintenance.