The Department of Transportation conducts a DOT inspection to ensure that the truck driver and the truck have all the necessary documents. If you don’t have all the required documents, you will get into trouble. This article will talk about the documents you need to have during a DOT inspection.
First of all, you need to start on a good foot. Take all the necessary documents and keep them in a binding folder. It will only cost you $3, and it will make the officer’s job easier and also make a good impression. Imagine you got pieces of paper folded in half and shoved in envelopes with coffee stains everywhere, you will be starting on a terrible impression.
Let’s see what documents you will need. There is no specific order, and I will explain one by one.
1. IRP CAB Card
This paper includes all your registration info, issue date, and expiration date, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). If you have a CDL setup, this document also includes registered weight by jurisdictions and the jurisdictions in which a vehicle is registered. If you leased on, the carrier’s details would also be there.
2. Trailer Registration
The trailer registration document is self-explanatory, just like trucks, except for the hotshot trailer.
3. Certificate of Liability Insurance
This document is your commercial insurance policy. It is a must-have document with you. If you rent an enterprise truck, they come with a self-insurance card if you opt for physical damage. Keep it with you.
4. Annual Vehicle Inspection Report
Every 12 months, commercial motor vehicles (CMV) weighing more than 10,000 pounds must undergo an inspection by the Department of Transportation (DOT). This inspection confirms that all parts are in safe and working order. Keep it up to date and keep it with you all the time.
5. Medical Examiner’s Certificate
If you are a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holder, you are required to submit a medical report dated within the last two years, every two years. This document is commonly known as DOT medical card. It proves that the driver has met the medical requirements to hold a CDL. Before issuing a CDL learner’s permit, a prospective CDL driver must hold a valid DOT medical card in most states.
6. International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)
IFTA report helps decide how much fuel tax is owed in each state or province based on the miles driven by the truck in each jurisdiction. IFTA is an agreement between the lower 48 states of the United States and the 10 Canadian provinces. People located in Alaska, Hawaii, and the Canadian provinces are not required to file IFTA. To obtain an IFTA license, you must go to your base jurisdiction IFTA department. After you get the IFTA license, you will renew every year. IFTA license is a must-have document. If you have a CDL setup, also keep it up to date.
7. Lease Agreement
If you are running the enterprise truck, you need to have a lease agreement, or if you leased onto a company, you need to have that lease agreement with you on the truck. These documents show that you are legally leased to a company.
8. Tracking Authority Letter
Trucking authority, also known as motor carrier authority or operating authority, is the authorization granted to you by the government to get paid to move freight, and it’s a requirement for starting your business.
- Driver Card and Inspection Instruction for your ELD
You are required to have access to a copy of this card in digital or printed format. Driver card shows you how to use your DashLink, what to do during a malfunction, and instructions on conducting a roadside check using DashLink.
It is not a monetary violation if you do not have these, and it will not put you out of service, but it will be a violation. You can get these from your ELD carrier’s or vendor’s website. ELD inspection instruction will be essential if the officer needs to see your logs.
These things are the bare minimum of what you need to have in the truck when you hotshot. Of course, you must have your driver’s license. I did not mention it here cause it is common sense to have it with you. You will also need to have permits to haul alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, oversize or overweight freight across state lines.