US DOT audit

Johnny Dee

Website Design & Success Moderator
Staff member
Matt and I had to drive 90 miles each way for a US DOT audit today. The audit lasted almost 2 hours. We failed the audit!

If any of you guys are driving a US DOT box truck, best make sure you have everything in order. Even if you are driving a pickup truck towing a trailer or a oversize van you may have to have a DOT number. The key number is 10,000 lbs. If the weight of your truck+trailer+trailer capacity weighs more that 10,000 lbs. and you are using it for commercial use you need a DOT number.

The two areas where we failed was for not having a up to date inspection and failure to keep a drivers log. When we first bought the truck over a year ago it was inspected by DOT and passed. We never received notice for another inspection. And we won' is our responsibility to have the inspection done every year. It can be done by your local mechanic. He just fills out a special form. This was news to us.

The drivers log is insane. We thought only drivers with a CDL license (18 wheelers, etc.) needed the drivers log. Not so... We must account for all of our working time for every day. This is not just driving time, but paperwork time, doing the event time, etc. You cannot exceed a certain amount of "work" time and drive the truck.

You really want to check out the weights I listed above as DOT can pull you over and fines are real high. You can be arrested as well. We came home with an inch thick of papers from the meeting. We were lucky we didn't receive any fines.


New Member
Holy CRAP! There's something probably a lot of us have never considered! I'm glad to hear you guys didn't get any fines. Thanks for the heads up!

Johnny Dee

Website Design & Success Moderator
Staff member
Another little something we learned from our meeting today:

1 - Don't carry dry ice in the truck (smoke machine). It's against the law unless you apply for a "hazmat" permit which requires unbelievable paperwork. (very very stiff fine)

2 - Don't carry Pyrotechnics in your truck including fireworks, sparklers, etc (same as above)

3 - Have you ever finished a job and the client gives you a bottle of wine or booze to take home. No can do...even if you put it in the box portion of the truck.

4 - If you have Diabetes and require insulin you cannot drive a DOT truck.
I would look into the Log book thing again, I drive a commercial vehicle every day. I drive 350 miles a day and do not have to have a log book...why you ask. We stay with in a 150 nautical mile radius every day. If our routes would take us beyond that we would have to fill one out every day. My company did not know this until I and another drive brought this up. They were skeptical but looked into it, sure enough they dropped the log books. I knew this 20 years ago and that is why I brought it to their attention, I live in Ohio. Log books are a pain in the butt.

Johnny Dee

Website Design & Success Moderator
Staff member
1 - We also were told no GPS units stuck to the windshield with a suction cup. You can mount it on the dash. Has something to do with a rule that requires the windshield wiper sweep must be clear of obstructions.

2 - You MUST have a medical card.

3 - You are required to have a packet of certain fuses for the truck, as well as 3 Triangles and a securely mounted fire extinguisher.

4 - You must do a inspection of your truck every day before using it following a DOT checklist.

5 - Even though Matt and I are partners in the business we are each required to fill out an "employee" form if we are to drive the truck. This must be kept on file.

6 - Annually we must contact our insurance company for a report on any accidents, etc. We must keep this on file.

We were also told that CT abides by the Federal laws (as do many other States). However, States can also add additional requirements. The best thing to do is check your State laws carefully.
c-pap & dot

If you use a c-pap do not say anything for your medical card ,trust me one pain in the a... testing every year
to get your medical card, extra testing that you wouldn't need otherwise, don't ask don't tell
Not sure if this is national or not but in Ohio a new law was past and was implemented 1/1/12, there is a $2,700 fine for talking on your cellphone while driving a CMV, can not pull off to the side of the road neither. That is a hefty fine.

Anthony Martorano

School Dance Moderator
Staff member
Johnny, is the DOT Audit random? We just got a DOT number for our truck, but I'm thinking that we might get rid of it if there's all these potential violations. We really don't travel out of the state a whole lot, I just figured it would be easy to have one for when we do...... apparently I was way wrong!!
Let me clear up a couple of myths. First, the vehicle in question must be licensed for over 10,000 GVWR. Only in this case, and if used as a commercial vehicle does any of these things apply.

Second, the 150 air-mile rule is a thing of the past for almost all local drivers being replaced by the 100 air-mile radius must VERY carefully check to see which rule their operation I noted, it's rare someone can use the 150 air-mile radius today. However, if one can clock in and out at the same reporting station they can use this air-mile examption in lieu of a logbook. Any logbook exempt drivers must still comply with HOS rules (Hours Of Service).

Third, there is now a national law against using a handheld cell phone in any moving commercial vehicle with fines up to $2750 for the driver and $11,000 for the owner. As for not being able to pull off to the side of the road, that depends on the state you operate. In Illinois that is most definitely LEGAL to pull off to the side for a few minutes to use the phone...check your state statutes for legalities regarding that in your area.

Fourth, Any violations in a CMV will be assigned points against their CSA score and these can severely affect your insurance rates. This is a very complex formula for figuring these points.

Lastly, there is new hours of service ruling that goes into affect next year with a few significant changes from current rules.

For the record, I am the Safety Director for a trucking company.


Human Thighmaster
As many of you may have guessed by my article, "Going Commercial" (MB May 2011), I highly resent this nanny-state government intrusion into my business. I have the equivalent of a moving van; a cut-away Ford E-350 cargo van with a Unicell box on it and a pull-out ramp. It has a single rear axle with dual wheels on each side. This is the same type of vehicle you might rent from your local U-Haul. Now let me get this straight: a guy with NO experience driving a cube van and RENT one, and doesn't need to bother with driver's log books, or be asked if he has diabetes and carry a medical card? WTF??? As usual, this is more anti-business government NONSENSE that started out with a noble purpose -- to make the trucking industry safer -- and as usual has over-reached into areas that'll do nothing to make anyone safer, but do PLENTY to make all of us poorer.

When I first got my van, I was told to go to a weigh station. I came in at 7,100 lbs. The Sec. of State used that to determine my license plate fee. When I got pulled over, the officer pointed to a STICKER on the inside of my door frame that says, "10,700 lbs." So I get a ticket for NOT having an EGVW plate! I went back to the Sec. of State who said, "If the empty vehicle weight is under 8,000 lbs., we don't care." So I re-weighed the van where the MI state police weigh THEIR crap -- even with my fat *** in the cab, it came in at 7,500 lbs. (I have two permanently-mounted shelving units inside, too.) I brought that slip to court and they dismissed the ticket.

Thus far, I haven't been called for a DOT inspection, but have passed 2 annuals. They called me to change my status from "interstate" to "intra-state." Most of my biz is done in Michigan, but when I applied for the number, I was asked, "Do you EVER do business in another state?" I did 2 gigs over the past 10 years in Ohio and, about 20 years ago, drove to Syracuse NY, I checked "yes." BAD move. But they made it really easy to change, and I didn't need to apply for a new number. My local DOT guy told me I didn't need a log book. As for using a cell phone, again, I resent their government over-reach. People eat lunch while they drive, women put on their damned make-up, I see guys writing notes and playing "office" in their cars, yet even though I used to use a CB radio for years and years and TRAINED to be able to talk and drive at the same time, blanket laws because of brain-dead IDIOTS now cover me???

I hates me nanny-state gub'ment!!! GRRR!!! :)

Johnny Dee

Website Design & Success Moderator
Staff member
When I got pulled over, the officer pointed to a STICKER on the inside of my door frame that says, "10,700 lbs."
This is the figure DOT goes by. It takes into account the vehicle weight and the weight of your contents. Loaded you are not able to exceed 10,700lbs. This means that based on a vehicle weight of can add 3600lbs in contents.

When you see the results of what happens when someone not paying attention by talking on their cellphone and running over and killing a family of 5 with a glad that this doesn't happen more frequently now that there are laws that does make it illegal to do such things.

As for training to be able to talk and drive...really? It has been proven many times drivers are far safer when only one task is presented at a driving. There's a great deal of scientific objective testing to verify this.