Yes boys and girls, it is that time of year again.
I’m referring to the annual DOT 72 Hour Safety Inspection
Feeding Frenzy Summer Celebration that runs June 5th through the 7th.
OK, I’m being cheeky…
But this three day inspection blitz is no joke, and it’s actually called Roadcheck 2012.
What it means to truckers, Hotshots included, is that we all have to be ready for anything, even if anything includes going through multiple Level 1 inspections in a single day if we cross more than one state line.
Yes, it happens. Trust me on that one.
Being ready for anything means a thorough inspection and correction of any potential problems before we ever leave the yard. In theory, if we’re doing our daily inspections like we’re supposed to, this one shouldn’t be any different. But it doesn’t hurt to look a little closer, and be a little pickier, especially this time of year.
So here’s my checklist, and you probably have one as extensive or more so of your own…
- Lights all working, lenses clean and crack-free, check. Horn honks, check. Windshield, windows, and all mirrors clean and crack/ding-free, check. Wipers and windshield washing fluid pump working, check.
- Tires have good tread, lugs tight, rims clean and crack/weld free, check. Brakes have good pads and properly adjusted, check. Trailer brakes and controller working properly, emergency trailer break-away battery charged, check.
- Fluids all filled, truck and trailer washed, lubed, and spit-shined, check. Nothing odd or broken hanging off of or underneath the truck or trailer, check.
- No crap on the dash, no empty snack wrappers or coffee cups on the console or floor, inside of the truck is neat and tidy, check.
- Safety equipment in the truck and operational, fire extinguisher properly secured and charged, triangles and extra bulbs, fuses, and first aid kit handy, check.
- Log book up to date and accurate, check.
- Operating authority paperwork, insurance, cab card, registration, IFTA, IRP, UCR, and permits (and all the other paperwork required) organized and handy, check.
- CDL and medical card in your wallet, and wallet in your pocket (or in my case, in my purse) and not at home on the dresser, check.
- FMCSA Green book and Haz-mat book in the proper pocket in the door of the truck, check.
It sounds like a lot of work if you haven’t been keeping things up as you go. But it’s worth taking the time to go over it. Nobody wants to get a ticket, and everyone wants that pretty CVSA sticker if they do get picked for the once-over. Or more than one once-over.
So…. Are you ready?
OK you Hotshots out there, if everything else is squared away and ship-shape, there is still one final check you need to do before you can be confident that you will pass any inspection they throw at you.
Go out and hook up your trailer and park it on a flat spot with the trailer straight behind the truck.
Now get out the long measuring tape (the 100′ one) and get your best buddy, one of the kids, or your better half to hold one end even with the most forward point on your rig. Now drag the smart end of the tape clear back, even with the most rearward point at the back end of your trailer.
Look down at the tape and see where you are, overall length-wise.
If you get anything over 65′, either turn down everything but truck only jobs, take the week off, or at least stay out of Texas.
I’m not going to give a long explanation of why I’m giving you this particular tip, but let’s just say ignoring it can result in not so happy consequences. Especially if you’re in Texas.
Anyway, be ready for it, be business-like and polite to Mr. or Ms. DOT if you are among the chosen ones, and, above all, be safe!