It is important to keep up to date on your U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) inspections as these evaluations are critical to making sure that your truck is safe on the road and does not have any significant problems going on with it along the way. While keeping up with maintenance can make a big difference in how well you do with your DOT truck and trailer inspection, many may worry about what will happen if they fail.
It is essential to take good care of your truck and your entire fleet to ensure that you perform well in the first place, but if you do fail the inspection, you may worry about what will happen next and how you can rectify the situation and get back on the road. Let’s take a closer look at some of the consequences that can happen in a worst-case scenario.
The Consequences of Failing a DOT Inspection
After your DOT inspection is done, you should receive the results of the inspection within 45 days. If your vehicle is not up to par, they will send you a detailed explanation as to the reason you did not pass and some of the requirements necessary to fix this issue through a corrective action plan (CAP).
Your CAP should explain the action you can take to help address the violation found during the inspection. You must submit the CAP within the specified number of days to ensure you retain your FMCSA registration; this is good news because it gives you time to prepare while providing you all the information you need on what is not up to standards and what you can do to fix it, rather than forcing you to guess about it.
Safety Violation Fines
No one wants to fail their DOT inspection, but these inspections are done to ensure that the truck is safe and that no one will get harmed on the road. To start, you may have to pay a fine as a result of violations discovered during your vehicle’s evaluation phase.
If your fleet has drivers that lack proper licensing, yet you have scheduled them on a truck, you could face fines from $250 to $5591. Denying access to any required documentation could cost the company up to $1239 in fines per day, up to a maximum of $12,383. Falsifying records is considered very dishonest and will also result in some more fines, up to $3760. Furthermore, some violations involving hazardous materials can rack up fines of up to $79,976.
Since these fees can be quite expensive and many businesses are on a tight budget, it is in your best interest to learn how to avoid them as much as possible.
What Violations Can Make You Fail Your DOT Inspection?
There are a number of violations that can show up that will make you fail your DOT inspection. Some of the most common include:
Alcohol and Drug Violations
Your trucking company must do regular and random alcohol and drug testing on all of the drivers. No matter how good the driver is, screen potential employees carefully because drivers with a history of alcohol and drug abuse are a liability. You can charter an outside agency to perform drug testing for you to make sure you achieve compliance or can hire staff members to do it for you.
As you likely realize from the above, your drivers can cause violations that result in DOT inspection failure. Your truckers are on the road for a long time and during their hauls, they have the opportunity to interact with others or fail to take care of their own health and welfare. Encourage drivers to remain healthy, alert, and up to the task as best you can and are properly licensed.
Some of the driver violations that could result in a failing grade on your safety audit include the following:
- Using a driver with a canceled, suspended, or revoked CDL
- Using a driver who is not medically able to perform the task of driving
- Using a driver that does not have the right CDL to do the truck.
Your drivers must be able to pay attention when they are on the road. You will score an immediate failure if inspectors discover that your driver is on the road without proper truck insurance. In addition, if your drivers are not logging their hours of service the right way, or not at all, they may face the same consequences. Ensure that your driver can operate the truck correctly and that there are no other circumstances that can cause issues.
Repairs and Inspection Violations
Your drivers need to be in good shape to do the driving, but it is also important that the truck they are driving is properly maintained as well. Operating a vehicle that is not inspected each year, operating one that is out of service due to safety issues, or one that has failed repairs in the past will result in an immediate failure when you do your DOT inspection.
Ensure that your team keeps the trucks in good working order all the time; this will ensure that the truck will perform the way that it should as well as keeping your drivers and anyone else around them as safe as possible. Schedule proper maintenance with a qualified shop truck to ensure that you are able to keep your fleet up to standards in order to pass your DOT inspection.
The Bottom Line
It is critical that you pass a DOT inspection on the first try. This helps you to keep your trucks and drivers on the road and moving, making more money for your business. Yet, even if you do not meet expectations on the test, you can examine the findings and perform the required tasks to get your truck back where it should be within the regulated time limit. Just do your best to ensure your driver is aware of proper procedure and follows guidelines to receive the best opportunity to prove successful.