Always Be Prepared!
Now that you understand why you are getting inspected so much, let’s consider in part Part 2 of our 3-part series Reducing Your DOT Exposure a few tips that will help things go better during an inspection.
The number one most important aspect of an inspection is the log book. Log book scrutiny has increased significantly for all drivers since the new July 1st rules regarding the mandatory 30 minute rest period and the 34 hour re-set rule. A DOT inspector will spend more time on the log book than any other aspect of the inspection. The log book is your first impression to the officer. If the log book is sloppy, not current, and the hours haven’t been totaled up, you’re essentially going on a first date with really bad breath. Except on this date, instead of the girl leaving you for another guy, you’re going to get to spend a lot of quality time with the officer who will probably go after your check book.
Your log book is your first impression to a DOT officer that instantly says, I’m a professional, or I’m a clueless moron. Which do you want to be?
The second most important part of an inspection is to have accurate and complete Bill’s of Lading for the cars on your trailer. We have had officers call shippers to verify a car was picked up and a certain time or place to confirm we were authorized to carry the car. Your BOL’s are closely related to your log book and must tie together. If you have a BOL for a car from Peoria, IL to Lizard Lick, NC, you better have a stop recorded in your log book for a pick up in Peoria.
Finally have the basics in good order. If you roll into a weigh station with a turn signal out and bald tires your asking for trouble, but have some of the lesser potential issues addressed, like a current annual inspection, proper safety equipment on board, and current registration and insurance cards.
The best way to survive a DOT inspection is to not only have your equipment in good working order, but also have logs and documents 100% current and ready.