How to Prepare for a Level 1 DOT Inspection

Getting stopped for an inspection in the middle of a delivery is a situation every truck driver dreads to be in. No one likes DOT inspections, but it’s part of being a truck driver. As a truck driver, at some point in your career you will experience an inspection. A little preparation and knowing what to expect will help get you through the inspection and back on the road. If you are unsure how to properly prepare for a level 1 DOT inspection, check out our guide!


What is a Level 1 DOT Inspection

A Level 1 or North American Standard Inspection is one of six levels of inspection. The inspection takes roughly 45 minutes and is the most common and thorough type of DOT inspection. This level of inspection inspects both the truck and truck driver. The DOT official will inspect the driver’s CDL, log books, medical certificates, inspection reports, HOS documentation, and Hazmat endorsements. The inspector will also make sure the driver is not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.


After checking the driver, the inspector will check the vehicle. Here are some things you can expect to be checked:

  • Cargo is securely fastened
  • Brake system
  • Suspension
  • Tires
  • Windshield wipers
  • Turn signals
  • Steering wheel
  • Fuel systems
  • Head and tail lamps
  • Exhaust system

Pre-trip Inspection

Now that you know what the inspector is looking for, you can do a pre-trip inspection before hitting the road. Before starting your route, do a quick walk through to make sure everything is working properly. A pre-trip inspection is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from violating or failing a DOT inspection.


In addition to the pre-trip inspection, remember to keep the inside of your truck clean, have all your paperwork neat and organized and be polite and compliant to the inspector. This will help speed things up in the event of an inspection.

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Maranda Heaverin

Maranda Heaverin

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