DOT Inspections: Good News/Bad News

Topic 1579 | Page 1

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ATXJEHU's Comment
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Well, my first DOT stop was back in July for a Level 3 (Driver and Paperwork) in Mississippi. It was a random stop by a MS State Trooper. He was very nice and everything was in order. My company rewarded me with a $50.00 bonus which was a nice little "atta boy"!

Then, last month, just North of Houston on I-45 at a CMV Inspection Station, I was waved over for a random Level 2 Inspection (Vehicle and Paperwork). I had picked up the MT trailer as a drop/hook about 45 minutes earlier. When doing the Pre-Trip, everything was in working order, or so I thought.

However, the (very young) trooper issued me a warning because two clearance lights, each with a light bulb that apparently has a dual element, had one of the elements not burning. In other words, both lights were burning, but only with half the bulb illuminated. One was at the top of the back of the van, the other was on the passenger side of the trailer at the very back.

I had no idea that such was a violation. During Pre-Trips, all I looked for was to see that the lights were all illuminated. While the ticket was issued as a warning, not as a citation (not certain there is a difference, but the trooper implied that it was considered minor), my company safety dept. classified this inspection as a "failure" and penalized me several points in my Performance Record for failing a Level 2 Inspection.

I guess I should be glad they have not taken back the $50.00 bonus paid on the Level 1!

BTW - Our Maint. Dept. sent me to a TA to replace the bulbs and the tech was perplexed as to why I wanted to replace bulbs that were still burning. I explained about the dual elements, then he came back saying they did not stock those bulbs anymore. Maint. instructed me to have them replaced with the single element bulbs that TA did have. Go figure. Later, that day, my Fleet Mgr. told me to drop the trailer at the yard because it had been sold.

Just another exciting day in the life of an OTR driver!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Dave D. (Armyman)'s Comment
member avatar

I would like to say the D.O.T. officer was mistaken, but I don't know. I never heard of it before. However, as most of us know, the interpretation of the law is usually in the eyes of the D.O.T. officer.

Dave

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Wow, that's really bizarre. Well I'd say from circumstantial evidence that you handled yourself like a professional if you only walked away with a warning. A lot of drivers would have gotten all indignant about it and made things much worse on themselves, especially considering this officer was clearly trying to establish himself and do his job by the book. And hey, there's nothing wrong with that. But cops that take that approach can go crazy with the citations if you give them the opportunity.

I've never heard of such a thing as one element being out in a two element bulb but you know as well as anyone that life on the road is just entirely too stressful and difficult to worry about such things so I would just forget all about it. I think you got through it as well as any driver could have - a simple warning. Be thankful and move on with a smile. That's just truckin...

smile.gif

ATXJEHU's Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys and, yes, about all one can so is shrug it off and keep on truckin'! But, it's a good reminder to all drivers to be thorough and conscientious about even the little details during a Pre-Trip.

Tracy W.'s Comment
member avatar

Good job...tough to maintain in a case like that.

I don't wanna say DoT is out to get us, but then we have a case like this.

Just makes you want to shake your head.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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