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Ready for May 14th? What to expect during a DOT Blitz.

We are only a few weeks away from the largest targeted enforcement program for commercial motor vehicles, also known as the CVSA International Roadcheck initiative, scheduled for May 14 – 16, 2024.



What is a DOT Blitz?

A DOT Blitz is a concentrated period during which enforcement agencies, such as the DOT, conduct thorough inspections and enforcement activities targeting commercial vehicles and drivers to ensure compliance with safety regulations.


During a DOT blitz, enforcement officials may set up roadside checkpoints or conduct inspections at weigh stations, rest areas, or other locations frequented by commercial vehicles. Inspections may cover various aspects of vehicle and driver compliance, including:

  1. Vehicle Inspections: Enforcement officers inspect commercial vehicles for compliance with safety regulations, such as proper functioning of brakes, tires, lights, and other essential equipment. They may also check for proper cargo securement and documentation.

  2. Driver Compliance: Officers verify that commercial drivers possess valid commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) and required endorsements, as well as ensuring compliance with hours-of-service regulations, drug and alcohol testing requirements, and other driver-related regulations.

  3. Documentation Review: Enforcement officials may review documentation such as driver logs, vehicle registration, insurance certificates, and permits to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

  4. Safety Education and Outreach: In addition to enforcement activities, DOT blitzes may include safety education and outreach efforts to raise awareness about regulatory requirements, promote compliance, and provide resources for improving safety practices.

DOT blitzes are typically conducted periodically throughout the year, often in conjunction with specific safety initiatives or events, such as Brake Safety Week, International Roadcheck, or Operation Safe Driver Week. This year’s International Roadcheck is scheduled for May 14 – 16, 2024.


What should I expect during this DOT Blitz?

On average, every minute in North America almost 15 trucks and motorcoaches are inspected during the 72-hour International Roadcheck. These inspections will take place at weigh stations, inspection stations, temporary sites, and mobile patrols.

This year's primary focus is on two areas – alcohol and controlled substance possession and tractor protection systems.


Inspectors will conduct a routine Level I Inspection with a 37-step procedure examining driver documentation and vehicle components.


During the Level I Inspection vehicle portion, “inspectors will ensure the vehicle’s brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat, fuel and exhaust systems, frames, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, wheels, rims, hubs, and windshield wipers are compliant with regulations” (CVSA, 2024). The driver portion of the inspection will check HOS documentation, driver credentials, DACH status (Drug and Alcohol Clearing House), alcohol and/or drug use, and seat belt usage.


To read more about other types of inspections, click here.


By successfully passing a Level I or Level V Inspection without violations, you may receive a CVSA decal which is valid for 3 months. If you receive an out-of-service violation during the inspection, you will be restricted from operating your commercial motor vehicle until corrective actions have been taken and the violations have been resolved.


How does a DOT Blitz impact the trucking industry?

Increased Compliance Awareness: DOT blitzes raise awareness among trucking companies and drivers about the importance of compliance with safety regulations. The heightened enforcement activity serves as a reminder of the consequences of non-compliance, prompting companies to review their operations and ensure that they are meeting regulatory requirements.


Enhanced Safety: The primary goal of a DOT blitz is to improve safety on the roads by identifying and addressing safety violations among commercial vehicles and drivers. By conducting thorough inspections and enforcement activities, authorities aim to remove unsafe vehicles and drivers from the road, reducing the risk of accidents and improving overall road safety.


Penalties and Fines: Non-compliance during a DOT blitz can result in penalties, fines, and citations for trucking companies and drivers. Violations may lead to fines, out-of-service orders, or even suspension of operating authorities, depending on the severity of the infractions.


Operational Disruptions: Vehicles or drivers found to be non-compliant during a DOT blitz may be placed out of service until the violations are corrected. This can result in operational disruptions for trucking companies, including delays in deliveries, loss of revenue, and additional expenses associated with addressing compliance issues and getting vehicles back on the road. Not to mention general driver delays due to inspections.


Long-Term Compliance Improvements: While the immediate impact of a DOT blitz may be disruptive for some trucking companies, the long-term effect is often positive in terms of improving overall compliance with safety regulations. Companies may take corrective actions to address violations identified during the blitz and implement measures to ensure ongoing compliance with safety standards.


Decreasing Capacity: Anticipating the blitz, some trucking businesses may choose to park their trucks for 3 days to avoid inspections. While most will continue to operate without fear, there are some drivers not willing to take the risk leading to an overall decrease in truck capacity. This could impact spot market rates, likely leading to an inflation in rates as truck capacity decreases and demand remains the same.


Prepare for inspections by treating every week like DOT Blitz week!


 

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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. Contents may not be relied upon as a substitute for the FMCSA's published regulations. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.

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