Why do federal regulators require truckers to complete pre-trip inspections? 

Unlike the average motorist, truckers cannot just turn the vehicle on and head off to their destination. It is a bit more complicated than that. 

Federal regulators require truckers to perform a pre-trip inspection to ensure their 18-wheeler is in the best possible condition before heading out on the road. There are a few different items that truckers must check as part of this process.

What does a pre-trip inspection on a truck entail?

Truckers must check various items as part of their level one U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) pre-trip inspection, including:  

  • Fluid levels
  • Tire pressure
  • Signs of leaks
  • Gauges
  • Lights
  • Kingpins
  • Shock absorbers
  • Ball joints
  • Brakes
  • Clutch
  • Their 5th wheel

Truckers must record their inspection in their 18-wheeler’s logbook before heading out to their destination. Employers should double-check to ensure that their truckers perform their inspection. Their failure to do so can expose both the 18-wheeler’s operator and the fleet company to legal liability if an accident occurs. 

When must truckers perform pre-trip inspections?

The DOT requires truckers to perform pre-trip inspections before their shifts and at least once every 24 hours that they’re on the road. While there are six different tiers to the DOT inspection system, the level one variety is the most common and comprehensive of all of them. This inspection allows truckers to be alcohol and drug tested, checks for seatbelt use and the presence of logbook records and their medical examiner’s certificate.

What are your options following an 18-wheeler accident?

Texas law allows anyone who suffers injuries in an accident with a negligent motorist to recover compensation for their injuries. You may need to prove liability to do so. A trucker’s failure to perform a pre-trip inspection may, in part, help you meet your burden. An attorney can help you learn more.