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Semi Truck Dot Inspection

DOT Six Levels of Inspection


All commercial truck drivers know DOT inspections can take place anytime.  Being prepared will make your inspection go quickly and not cost you additional time or fines.

There are six levels of DOT inspections:

Level I: North American Standard Inspection

At this level of inspection, the inspector will be meticulous in checking the driver’s documents, in addition to looking for drugs, alcohol or hazardous materials that the driver may be transporting. This list includes:

  • Driver’s license
  • Driver’s daily log and hours of service
  • Driver and Vehicle Inspection Report
  • Medical card and waiver
  • Alcohol and/or drugs
  • Hazmat requirements

In checking the vehicle, the evaluation will look at the following parts and accessories:

  • Seat belt
  • Brakes
  • Brake lamps
  • Coupling devices
  • Exhaust system
  • Emergency exits and/or electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments (buses)
  • Frame
  • Fuel system
  • Headlamps
  • Lamps on projecting loads
  • Safe loading
  • Securement of cargo
  • Steering mechanism
  • Stop Lamps
  • Suspension
  • Tail lamps
  • Tires
  • Trailer bodies
  • Turn signals
  • Wheels, rims, and hubcaps
  • Windshield wipers

Level II: Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection

This inspection is almost identical to the level 1 evaluation, except that the inspector will not check any of the parts that require physically getting under the CMV.

You may want to consider using a DOT driver vehicle checklist or mobile app to learn what goes into conducting a vehicle safety inspection.  Here is an app complete with check lists that can be a great resource.  

Level III: Driver-Only Inspection

At a level III inspection, you can expect an in-depth examination of the following list:

  • Driver’s license
  • Medical card
  • Driver’s daily log
  • Seat belt
  • Driver and Vehicle Inspection Report
  • Driver incident history
  • Hazmat requirements

Level IV: Special Inspection

The level IV special inspection refers to a one-time examination conducted to take a closer look at a particular feature of the vehicle. This is usually done to invalidate a previous claim about the vehicle — in order to support or refute a study or suspected trend.

Level V: Vehicle-Only Inspection

A level V inspection can be conducted at any location and includes everything in level I regarding the vehicle — but without a driver present.

Level VI: Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments

Since DOT regulations came into effect as of January 1, 2005, all CMVs transporting highway route controlled quantities (HRCQ) of radioactive material are required to pass the North American Standard Level VI Inspection. This inspection includes:

  • Inspecting for radiological shipments
  • Inspection procedures
  • Enhancements to level I
  • Radiological requirements
  • Enhanced out of service criteria

(Source:  https://www.thebalance.com/dot-inspections-1361608)