Getting ready for your Annual DOT Inspection
If you make it a point to conduct a regular Pre-Inspection on the vehicle and addressed any issues when they come up you are likely ready for your DOT Annual Inspection. I would add to this as we all want a clean inspection that you double-check that the required Portable Fire Extinguisher is fully charged, mounted and secured in the cab. DOT also requires that you have Spare Fuses and Emergency Reflective Triangles be on board at all times.
Braking System and general operating condition of said vehicle
Brakes are always a REAL big deal and they are visually inspected as well as tested. Having an Air Brakes System means you likely have a larger vehicle or transporting heavy loads. Here is a printable, CDL Air Brakes Seven-Step Checklist and Pre-Inspection Checklist that should be part of your regular inspection program. It is very important to have your driver conduct this simple test if operating an Air Brake System as well as a general overview of all items of your per-inspection list prior to your DOT Annual Inspection to ensure the best possible outcome. The last thing you want on a report is a needed required repair when it could have easily been avoided.
It is important to remember that if your vehicle should be inspected at a DOT Inspection Check Station there will be a great focus on your braking system and besides a thorough visual brake inspection your braking system will be tested. If you fail the brake inspection you will in most cases be RED FLAGGED and you are not going anywhere, which can be a big interruption in your operation.
I do not want to underemphasize the whole of the vehicle when it comes to all DOT requirements but a regular and required Pre-Inspection will allow you to address issues as they come up. Remember for any issue a Supervisor should be notified immediately in regards to any safety concerns, and addressed ASAP!
Commercial vehicles require certain safety equipment for vehicle protection and for the safety of those in the vehicle.
A checklist to ensure that each vehicle has the following safety equipment:
5.1.4 Emergency Equipment (393.95)
Each CMV (except those towed in a driveaway–towaway operation) must have the following emergency equipment:
- Portable Fire Extinguisher – proper type, size, and rating – Mounted and secured in cab
- Spare Fuses – All vehicle operational fuses
- Emergency Reflective Triangles – warning devices for stopped vehicles
The US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), regulate the safety of commercial motor vehicles used on highways for transporting passengers or property.
FMCSA regulation 49 CFR Part 393.95 requires safety equipment on all of the following trucks, truck tractors, and buses:
- Vehicles with GVWR, GCWR, or gross vehicle weight over 10,000 lb
- Buses for compensation with over 8 persons and non-compensation buses with over 15
- Vehicles transporting hazardous material requiring placards
All buses, trucks, and tractors require a portable fire extinguisher for compliance with FMCSA. A 10-B:C unit is required for vehicles with hazardous materials and 5-B:C for all others. An extinguishing agent that doesn’t freeze is required, and each unit must be secured in a manner that prevents sliding, rolling, and vertical movement. Fire extinguishers must be mounted and secured within the vehicle cab.
Emergency Reflective Triangles
The FMCSA requires warning devices for stopped vehicles. Although flares are acceptable, the following equipment is most commonly carried on each vehicle, as a minimum, for compliance:
- At least 3 bidirectional emergency reflective triangles (P/N TKB1)
Spare Fuses – All vehicle operational fuses
DOT Reflector Tape is required on key areas of the Tractor/Truck and Trailer and is often overlooked – DOT Reflector Tape Requirements
Wheel Chocks – can be required under certain conditions
Wheel chocks (P/N HDLWC) are typically carried on all commercial motor vehicles to prevent accidental movement while vehicles are parked and during loading and unloading. Chocks are used against the rear tires in the direction of grade. On even surfaces, chocks are placed on both sides of tires. Chocks should always be used in pairs. note: The law states that air-braked power units (made on or before March of 1975) are enough to keep a commercial motor vehicles from moving during the loading and unloading process. However, the FMCSA does require blocks or chocks for all agricultural commodity trailers, pulpwood trailers and heavy haulers.
First Aid Kits
The FMCSA does not mandate first aid kits, but many states do require them. Even when not mandated, a first aid kit to match the maximum number of vehicle occupants (passengers plus driver) is a smart idea. Others will appreciate your knowledge of the federal safety requirements and your recommendations for products and equipment that will help ensure the safety of vehicles, passengers, and drivers.
The FMCSA does not mandate a driver’s reflective vest but they can be a lifesaver when stepping out on a busy highway, loading, and unloading and a vest can be purchased for as little as few dollars.
For more additional information: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/safetyplanner/
Related – DOT Reflector Tape Requirements
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