DOT & ELD Guidance Blog


Make sure drivers have the safeguards in place to pass a roadside inspection at any time.
J.J. Keller Senior Editor J.J. Keller Editor

Mark Schedler - Sr. DOT Editor - J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

November 08 , 2019

Preparing your drivers and dispatch team for successful roadside inspections doesn’t just help minimize the chance of vehicle-related violations — it’s critical for avoiding accidents and minimizing over-the-road repairs. Improve compliance and safety across your fleet with these 10 tips for a successful ELD roadside inspection.

1. Clean the Truck Cab

Pay attention to the overall cleanliness of the cab. Remove extra garbage, especially from the top of the dashboard, which could impact viability and potentially cause items to drop into the area of the brake and accelerator pedals. A messy cab makes the officer ask “What else isn’t in order with this driver or vehicle?”

2. Plan Your Route

The benefits of planning every single trip in advance are three-fold:

  • Compliance: Do the math. Make sure you have enough hours available and opportunities to take required breaks so you can legally reach your destination.
  • Safety: Check the weather forecast and plan your route so you can avoid driving through big cities during rush hour.
  • Effectiveness: Look for potential obstacles along the route such as road closures, construction, or tolls that may cause delays.

3. Conduct a Thorough Pre-Trip Inspection

While each company’s version of a “proper” pre-trip inspection may differ slightly, as a standard, required items should be checked in the same sequence each time to create the habit for conducting a thorough pre-trip.

4. Charge and Connect HOS Electronic Logging Devices

Before operating the vehicle, verify that the ELD is in a fixed position where the driver can view the device when seated. Drivers must be able to present their record of duty status to an inspection officer via wireless web services and email, or USB and Bluetooth. For this reason, drivers should take extra caution to ensure their hours-of-service devices are fully charged and operating as expected.

5. Know Hours-of-Service Limits and Rules of Exception(s) Used

Make sure drivers know the hours of service rules and understand how many consecutive hours they are allowed to drive before they are required to take a break, if they qualify for any exceptions, and how to make appropriate use of their ELD to help regulate their compliance.

6. Ensure Truck Driver In-Cab Driving Paperwork is in Order

Drivers should keep all applicable documentation up to date, organized, and easily accessible from their cab. Required documents include:

  • Driver’s license, medical certification, and any applicable medical waivers
  • Supporting documents, such as bills of lading and expense reports (up to eight supporting documents need to be retained for each driver, each day)
  • Hazmat documentation
  • Annual vehicle inspection information
  • Permit credentials, including the International Registration Plan (IRP) cab card, International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) license and decals, and any temporary permit
  • ELD-related documents, including eight days of blank logs, driver information, and malfunction/transfer instructions for the device being used

7. Confirm Prior Days’ Record of Duty Status’ (RODS) Certified on the ELD

Prior days’ RODS must be certified immediately after the last change of duty status for the applicable 24-hour period. Leaving logs uncertified is the same as having a prior day paper log that isn’t signed — it’s a violation. 

8. Conduct a Thorough Post-Trip Inspection

Post-trip inspections should include the same vehicle components checked in the pre-trip inspection. Establish a consistent step-by-step process for completing the inspection in an efficient manner, without leaving anything out.

9. Complete DVIR to Note Any Safety Defects

Drivers of property-carrying vehicles should complete a driver vehicle inspection report when a defect exists that affects the safety of the vehicle or could cause a potential breakdown. Passenger-vehicle drivers should complete a DVIR each day regardless of defects.

10. Be Positive

Attitude is everything. Drivers should remain calm, be respectful, avoid argument, and ask the officer to explain the violation(s). A driver can’t talk themselves out of an inspection, but they can certainly talk the officer into one.

Drivers and motor carriers share equal responsibility for achieving violation-free roadside inspections. Drivers should be prepared for a roadside inspection at any time, while it is the ongoing responsibility of the carrier to keep drivers trained, well informed of regulatory changes, and positioned for success. For additional roadside inspection tips, request your FREE copy of the Roadside Inspection E-Book.      


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