Truckers have a lot to keep track of. They need to perform daily vehicle inspections on their vehicle to keep close track of wear and tear in order to avoid breakdowns, they have to carefully plan driving routes around traffic patterns and available rest stops, and they have to keep their licenses and documentation up-to-date, among other things. All of these hats are a lot to balance, but they’re all very important for keeping drivers on the road so the cargo continues to get where it needs to go.
Pass a DOT Inspection
Licensing and other documentation are checked during several different levels of DOT inspections. This includes a Level I inspection, which is the most common. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), documentation that is checked during a Level I inspection includes:
- driver’s license
- Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate
- driver’s record of duty status
Keeping drivers on the road is critical for trucking companies, which is why every company should perform a regular check on all of their drivers to ensure no one is heading out with expired licensing or documents. While some companies do a yearly audit, some items will expire after a year and may not be caught by an audit before a violation occurs. It can help to do audits a little more frequently, such as twice a year, to keep employee documentation up-to-date.
If possible, create a system that makes it easier for both the company and its drivers to keep a close eye on everyone’s licensing and documentation at all times, ensuring that drivers stay informed about when they need to update them. This can prevent a DOT inspection violation that results in unnecessary fines and extra processes required to clear the violation.
It’s the Law
Operating a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle with an expired Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or other expired documentation isn’t just a concern when DOT inspections are taking place—it’s also against the law. If a driver is pulled over for a traffic law violation or involved in an accident, their licensing and documentation will be checked by a legal officer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for governing the trucking industry, and they will be informed of any violations by a truck driver. If the driver’s documents are not up-to-date, they will be penalized for driving without the appropriate documentation as per the regulations put in place by the FMCSA. Repeat violations of the law will lead to harsher penalties.
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