Annual DOT

Annual DOT Inspection

Annual DOT Vehicle Inspections and truck maintenance can help you control costs and keep drivers safe on the road. A properly executed Annual DOT Inspection can help your drivers:

  • Discover unsafe conditions before they cause accidents.
  • Find mechanical problems before they lead to costly breakdowns
  • Avoid being placed out of service during a roadside state official inspection, or being subject to infractions and fines

A motor carrier (such as yourself) shall not use a commercial motor vehicle unless each component identified in Safety Compliance Appendix G has passed an inspection at least once during the preceding 12 months. A copy of the documentation with a valid sticker must be in the vehicle.

The documentation may be:

  • The inspection report prepared in accordance with CFR 396.21, and sticker or decal, will contain the following information:

1. The date of inspection, name, and address of the motor carrier or other entity where the inspection report is maintained. Information uniquely identifying the vehicle inspected if not clearly marked on the motor vehicle and a certification that the vehicle has passed an inspection in accordance with CFR 396.17

Who is a qualified Inspector?

The FMCSA defines an inspector in CFR 396.17 as a person who understands the inspection criteria set forth in 49 CFR Part 393 and Appendix G of this subchapter and can identify defective components. That person is knowledgeable of and has mastered the methods, procedures, tools, and equipment used when performing an inspection. The inspector will also be capable of performing the inspection by reason of experience and training.

DOT Inspection & Maintenance FAQs

  • How can a carrier meet the Annual DOT Inspection requirements?
    Federal safety regulations require that commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate or foreign commerce must pass an inspection at least annually. The inspection requirements may be met through periodic inspection programs administered by the states, or a roadside inspection, or an inspection performed by a commercial garage or similar commercial business, so long as the inspection complies with federal standards or compatible state standards.
  • Who is qualified to work on brakes?
    A “brake inspector” is defined as an employee of a motor carrier responsible for ensuring that inspections, maintenance, repairs, or service to brakes meet applicable safety standards. Even though the regulations do not apply to those not employed by the carrier, the carrier is responsible for assigning only qualified people to inspect, maintain, repair, and service brakes.
    The qualification requirements can be met in such ways as completing an officially approved apprenticeship or training program, or through relevant training and/or experience totaling at least one yea
  • CDL drivers who are licensed to operate commercial vehicles equipped with air brakes are not qualified to perform brake adjustments or other brake-related tasks without having the training or experience required of a brake inspector.
  • When do drivers have to stop to check their loads?
    The federal safety regulations require drivers to periodically check their cargo and securement devices to ensure that the cargo is properly secured, and make adjustments as necessary. Drivers are required to check their loads:

    • Before the trip starts,
    • Within the first 50 miles after beginning the trip, and
    • Whenever the driver makes a change of duty status or after the vehicle has been driven for 3 hours or 150 miles, whichever occurs first.
  • How long must a motor carrier retain a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR)?
    DVIRs must be kept for 3 months.
  • Do Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) need to be kept in the vehicle?
    No, DVIRs no longer have to be carried in the vehicle. Upon completion, they can immediately be filed.
  • What must a driver do with a roadside inspection report?
    When a driver receives an inspection report from the state or FMCSA official at a roadside inspection, the driver must deliver the report to the motor carrier upon arrival at the next terminal or facility. If the driver is not scheduled to arrive at a terminal or facility within 24 hours, he/she must immediately mail the report to the carrier.
  • What must a motor carrier do with a roadside inspection report?
    After receiving a roadside inspection report from a driver, the motor carrier must correct all noted defects, must certify on the form that violations have been corrected, and must mail the completed form to the address shown. This must be done within 15 days following the date of the inspection.
  • How long must a motor carrier retain a roadside inspection report?
    Motor carriers must retain a copy of each completed roadside inspection form for 12 months, either at the principal place of business or where the vehicle is housed.
  • How long must an Annual DOT Inspection forms be retained?
    The inspection report must be retained for 14 months.