The six levels of DOT inspections

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all commercial motor vehicles (CMV) with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,001 pounds undergo an inspection every year. A DOT inspection is conducted in order to make sure that all parts and accessories of the CMV are in good working order.  There are six levels of this safety analysis, which simply refers to the methods that will be employed during the assessment of a vehicle and the driver. They include:


1) Level I: North American Standard Inspection

Inspector examining the steering wheel during a standard DOT inspection

This part of the check looks at important documents such as at the vehicle operator’s driver license, medical certificate and waiver and hours of service. The professional conducting the evaluation will also inspect the seat belt, exhaust system, turn signals, tail lamps, head lamps, steering wheel, wheels and rims and fuel system.


2) Level II: Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection

Worker conducting a level V DOT Inspection, a vehicle-only inspection

Level II inspections involve examining everything in the level I inspection with exception of the parts that involve the inspector getting under the CMV.

Download IndustrySafe’s free checklist for driver DOT vehicle inspections. This checklist includes vehicle items a driver should inspect on a day to day basis before and after driving the vehicle to be in compliance with DOT regulations.


3) Level III: Driver-Only Inspection

Inpsector conducting a DOT driver-only inpsection. The inspector is examining the driver's daily log.

During this check, the inspector will take an in-depth look at the vehicle operator’s driver’s license, medical certification and daily log.

Watch IndustrySafe’s video to learn how software can help you track your DOT Accident Register Log, driver incident history, license, and medical information.



4) Level IV: Special Inspection

An inspector examining a tire during a DOT inspection

These are one-time examinations that take a close look at a specific item. They are typically scheduled to invalidate a previous claim about a vehicle.


5) Level V: Vehicle-Only Inspection

Inspector performing a walk-around DOT vehicle inspection

Level V inspections look at everything specified under Level I. The only difference is that they are executed without the driver present.

Download IndustrySafe’s free checklist for periodic vehicle maintenance inspections. This checklist includes key vehicle maintenance items that should be reviewed on a periodic basis to ensure safety and compliance with DOT regulations.


6) Level VI: Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments

DOT inspectors conducting an enhanced NAS inspection for a radioactive shipment

This inspection is used for certain radiological shipments. Select radiological shipments only comprise highway route controlled quantities set forth by DOT’s title 49 section 173.403.

To conduct on-going vehicle inspections for your organization, you may want to consider downloading IndustrySafe’s mobile app. This safety software enables you to conduct inspections in the field, allows you to use pre-built checklists, upload pictures and can be used with or without internet access.