Getting pulled over by the DOT inspectors makes for one hairy day as a trucker. If you were busted for speeding or some other moving violation you are already in jeopardy. However, you still have the DOT inspection to get through. After they inspect you and/or your tractor-trailer the inspector might have additional bad news for you. All in all, you want to avoid this scene at all costs, especially in states where you are more likely to end up with a bad inspection. Here is the top five states where you’ll most likely incur a violation during your next DOT inspection.
Dirty DOT Inspections
What exactly does this mean? In some states the DOT inspectors are more stringent in their inspection practices. This might be as part of the latest task force effort to reduce hours of service violations. Or it could be caused from overzealous inspectors. Another reason some states are more strict with DOT inspections is because they are part of a research grant or program.
For example, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) has the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) High Priority Grant. Through MCSAP states are granted award money for each DOT inspection at specific inspection levels. The more inspections completed in depth by the DOT officials in participating states, the more free federal money that is paid out to the state officials. As a result, some states including Arkansas and Montana are regularly at the top of the list of the most DOT inspections per mile. But what about the states where these inspections are more likely to indicate something is wrong? Failed inspections are a burden to truck drivers, but in some states they are far more likely to take place.
Profiling the Top Performers
CCJ keeps a check on the states that are more likely to have dirty DOT inspections. As part of data compiled by Overdrive here are the five states where you are most likely to get a bad report card by an inspector:
- Connecticut 15 percent clean inspections
- Louisiana 16 percent clean inspections
- Idaho 17 percent clean inspections
- Wisconsin 18 percent clean inspections
- Indiana 19 percent
As a reference point the national average of clean inspections is 40 percent. This means that four out of 10 inspections are clean, which is great news for truck drivers. In states where you have 15 percent clean inspections, as with Connecticut, you are looking at a whopping 85 percent of all DOT inspections come out dirty. In other words, if 100 truckers get DOT’d in Connecticut, 85 of them are going to be boiling mad.
The Bottom Line
You are responsible for the state of your tractor-trailer. It is your professional responsibility to be able to pass a DOT inspection with flying colors. That is all on you. However, when you get pulled over for a DOT inspection all of the sudden a tail light is out, which happened literally in between the last truck stop and this inspection. Your CSA score and trucking job prospects will be hampered by this blown bulb. Here’s where the clean versus dirty state issue comes into the scene.
If you are in a state where they are more likely to complete a Level 1 DOT inspection then you have more of a chance to fail the inspection. There is simply more areas where you can make a mistake. That’s the case with these “dirty” DOT states. You are far more likely to have a comprehensive DOT inspection rather than a less strenuous check.
So what can you do to ensure you won’t get dinged in these heavy hitting states? You’ve likely already guessed it, keep your rig and logs in tip top shape. Also be prepared when you enter Connecticut, Louisiana, Idaho, Wisconsin, or Indiana. You can bank on getting more stringent inspections in these states. If you do a lot of hauling in or through these states learn the tricks on which truck stops, weigh stations and highways to hit up, and which to avoid. Some behind the wheel experience will give you skills in making the most of these dirty DOT’d states.