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Serving Accident & Injury Victims for Over 20 Years

"Whether it's a whiplash, serious injury or wrongful death case, we pride ourselves on representing you with the personal service and aggressive representation that you expect and deserve!" -Attorney Ron Sholes​

What Happens During a Truck Inspection?

Commercial Vehicle Inspections in Florida

Big rigs, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks are subject to more extensive wear and tear than most passenger vehicles. As such, they must be carefully inspected and maintained to ensure safety on our shared highways and roads.

Truck inspections include a complete assessment of the truck’s various components, including but not limited to:

  • Braking systems
  • Steering systems
  • Engine components
  • Reflective strips
  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • Tires
  • Horns
  • Mirrors
  • Warning lights
  • Turn signals
  • Flashers
  • Emergency equipment
  • Underride protection
  • System gauges
  • Transmissions
  • Clutches
  • Axles
  • Cargo securing equipment

Trucking companies, truck drivers, and the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) all conduct routine vehicle inspections to assess general wear and tear, as well as identify potential vehicle issues that warrant repairs. In fact, such inspections are regulated by both state and federal laws.

Who Is Responsible for Conducting Large Truck Inspections?

In Florida, trucks and all their parts must be in perfect working order under federal law. Additionally, truck drivers must inspect their vehicles at the start of every new shift, as well as before resuming driving after stopping for a mandated break. Drivers must keep a log of these inspections and record any defect or condition that could affect the safe, normal operation of the vehicle.

Trucking companies must also conduct regular vehicle inspections, regardless of whether they own or lease the vehicles under their control. Such inspections must occur at least every 90 days or annually, and they must include a comprehensive examination of vehicles’ various safety components, including push-out windows and emergency braking systems.

When issues are reported, they must be properly and promptly addressed. Trucking companies or the owners of these vehicles must certify that these issues have either been immediately repaired or that repairs are not urgently needed to operate the vehicle safely.

Department of Transportation (DOT) Truck Inspections

Each state’s Department of Transportation (DOT), including the Florida DOT, conducts various commercial vehicle inspections, independently and in conjunction with various state agencies, such as local highway patrol offices. These inspections include both annual bumper-to-bumper vehicle inspections performed at least once every 12 months and roadside inspections under the North American Standard Inspection Program.

During annual commercial truck inspections, the Florida DOT will examine all the various components of the vehicle, including but not limited to the:

  • Engine
  • Cab
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Tires/wheels
  • Axles
  • Hubs
  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • Emergency lights
  • Turn signals
  • Frame/support
  • Electrical systems
  • Safety equipment
  • Body of the truck/trailer
  • Registration

Following these inspections, the DOT inspector will note any issues requiring further attention, including repairs or partial/total replacement. These repairs and replacements must be carried out and certified before the truck can be driven again.

Roadside Truck Inspections

The DOT performs roadside commercial vehicle inspections in conjunction with state troopers, highway patrol officers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

There are six levels of commercial truck inspections under the North American Standard Inspection Program:

  • Level I: North American Standard Inspection: During a standard inspection, the officer or inspector examines the entire vehicle, checking its various components for excess wear and tear, defects, and potentially hazardous conditions. The officer or inspector will also talk to the truck driver and check for proper vehicle registration, licensing, and seatbelt use. They may also check for signs of alcohol or drug use.
  • Level II: Walk-Around Inspection: During a walk-around inspection, the officer or inspector checks the truck and talks to the driver, much like they would in a Level I inspection. However, Level II inspections do not involve an inspection of any components that would require the officer or inspector to go beneath the vehicle or look at the engine.
  • Level III: Driver-Only Inspection: During a Level III Driver-Only Inspection, the officer or inspector does not examine the vehicle but, instead, focuses only on the driver. They’ll check the truck driver’s credentials, including their commercial driver’s license status, hours-of-service logs, electronic logging device (EDL), driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR), record of duty status, and more.
  • Level IV: Special Inspections: Special inspections occur only rarely and are typically carried out as part of a larger initiative, often to obtain information or complete research. These inspections often involve an inspection of just one element, such as the vehicle’s steering components or the driver’s various documentation forms.
  • Level V: Vehicle-Only Inspections: Vehicle-only inspections involve similar elements as Level I inspections, just without a truck driver present. During a vehicle-only inspection, the officer or inspector will check the vehicle and its various components for issues or potential hazards. In most cases, these inspections occur as part of a compliance review at the carrier’s location.
  • Level VI: Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments: Level IV inspections are specific to commercial vehicles that are carrying hazardous materials, such as nuclear or medical waste. Such vehicles and their drivers are subject to different safety standards than other commercial vehicle operators; these inspections are meant to ensure compliance with these safety standards.

Why Do Truck Inspections Matter?

Routine truck inspections are extremely important. Not only do they ensure the improved safety of these vehicles and their drivers, but they also can serve as invaluable evidence in the event of a truck accident. For example, if a truck inspection results in an order to have the vehicle’s braking system repaired, but the trucking company fails to do this and the truck is later involved in a fatal rear-end collision, the victim’s surviving family members can use the inspection report as evidence in their wrongful death lawsuit.

At The Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A., we help people who have been involved in large truck accidents fight for the justice they deserve. Our experienced attorneys are prepared to advocate tirelessly for you, utilizing all available evidence—including truck inspection reports—to build a powerful case on your behalf. We offer free consultations and do not collect any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you.

Call us today at (855) 933-3881 or contact us online to request a complimentary consultation.

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