As the International Roadcheck (June 4-6) and Operation Safe Driver Week (July 14-20) approach, it’s important for all truck drivers to be aware of the six different levels of a Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspection.

The Six Levels of a DOT Inspection

Level 1 – The North American Standard Inspection

The level one DOT inspection is the most common inspection and is the type of inspection that will be conducted during the International Roadcheck inspection blitz next month. It includes a complete check of both the driver and the vehicle, and lasts about 45 minutes to an hour. The DOT official will inspect the driver’s documents including license, medical certificates, logs, HOS documentation, inspection reports, and Hazmat endorsements. The driver will also be checked to make sure they aren’t under the influence of any drugs, alcohol, or any other hazardous material. The official will also check that the cargo is safely secured. The following will be checked under this level inspection:

  • Seat belt
  • Brakes
  • Suspension – this year’s Roadcheck focus is on steering and suspension
  • Tires
  • Windshield wipers
  • Headlamps
  • Turn signals
  • Steering wheel
  • Fuel systems

Level 2 – Walk-Around Driver & Vehicle Inspection

A level two DOT inspection is very similar to a level one inspection. The only difference is the officer checking the vehicle will only inspect items that can be checked without physically getting under the vehicle, which takes about 30 minutes to conduct.

Level 3 – Driver-Only Inspection

The level three driver-only inspection focuses on the driver’s credentials such as:

  • Driver’s license
  • Endorsements
  • Medical cards
  • Skill Performance Evaluation certificate
  • RODS
  • HAZMAT requirements
  • Vehicle inspection reports
  • HOS requirements

Inspectors will also check for things such as seat belt usage, and use of any drugs or alcohol. This inspection takes about 15 minutes.

Level 4 – Special Inspection

A level four special inspection is a one-time inspection for a specific item. There is no specific time as each inspection will have a different focus.

Level 5 – Vehicle-Only Inspection

A level five inspection involves only the vehicle checks that fall under a level one inspection, and has to be done without the driver being present. It can take up to 30 minutes to complete. The following are checked during this inspection:

  • Seat belt
  • Brakes
  • Suspension – this year’s Roadcheck focus is on steering and suspension
  • Tires
  • Windshield wipers
  • Headlamps
  • Turn signals
  • Steering wheel
  • Fuel systems
  • Exhaust

Level 6 – Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments

This inspection only pertains to those hauling radioactive freight. It involves all the checks of a level one inspection with the addition of checks specific to the radiological shipments and requirements. After this inspection, the vehicle, driver and cargo must be defect free before they can leave for delivery.  This inspection takes about 60 minutes.

Questions? Contact NHH Services

NHH Services is committed to driver safety and support, especially when it comes to maintenance including regular inspections. We offer our freight agents and owner operators a national tire purchase program and emergency road service, although preventative maintenance for safety to avoid any down time is always encouraged. For questions about driver safety or roadside inspections, give us a call at 704-235-0460 or send us an email to roadsideinspections@medalliontrans.com.