We passed our first big DOT inspection!
Pulling into weigh stations is always a little nerve-wracking. Usually you just drive across a scale and continue on your way. But this time over a speaker we heard, “Midwest Carriers, drive around and pull into bay 1.”
Here we go.
Adam was driving and I had just woken up, so I was still buckled into the bunk. I stayed put.
I could hear the conversation. The guys seemed really nice. They checked Adam’s license, medical card and e-log, they looked under our bunk (via the outdoor hatch door) for the fire hydrant and emergency triangles, checked our coupling devices, brakes, tires, lights, and more… all the stuff on a Level 1. Overall it took maybe 10 minutes – not too painful.
And we passed. Yay!
Sometimes they’ll pull a truck in for inspection if they see something out of sorts, like a burned our marker light or a low tire – and sometimes it’s just random. So when you get pulled in, it’s natural to think, “oh boy… I hope everything’s okay.” Adam and I are good little trucker kids and inspect our truck daily like we’re supposed to, but there’s always the worry that we missed something, a light burned out since our last stop, or we didn’t quite realize something was much of a problem.
Inspections are scary, no lie. But I’ll tell you what – it’s reassuring and feels pretty awesome to pass a Level 1!
So now… we got a little sticker on our window saying we passed, and they told us that’s good for about 90 days – meaning we probably won’t get pulled in for another inspection for a while. Now when we head into a weigh station, we’ll drive over the scale and past the little office and they’ll see that sticker. Cool, hey?
This clean inspection also shows up like a gold star on Adam’s and our company’s CSA (Compliance, Safety & Accountability) score. (You can pull up CSA scores for any trucking company and see how they compare to others here: https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/)
So that’s that. I sure hope all of our inspections go that well!
Tonight I love that deep, relaxing sigh of relief. It feels good.
If you’re interested in more details on the inspections, below is a quick description of the inspection we received and a link to see what the other levels include:
North American Standard Inspection – An inspection that includes examination of driver’s license; medical examiner’s certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable); alcohol and drugs; driver’s record of duty status as required; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable); brake systems; coupling devices; exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads); securement of cargo; steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims and hubs; windshield wipers; emergency exits and/or electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments (buses), and HM/DG requirements as applicable. HM/DG required inspection items will be inspected by certified HM/DG inspectors.