The Basics of a Texas DOT Inspection: TX Department of Transportation Compliance

Getting a Texas DOT inspection isn’t a difficult process. But there are certain steps that you should take. And that's where Moving Authority steps in. Each month, we provide advice to hundreds of trucking companies about DOT inspections. That’s why we’ve provided the following DOT vehicle inspection program overview. If you have any questions about inspections, do not hesitate to call our organization. Our trucking experts can assist you with any government inspection process.

Each CMV vehicle in Texas must pass an annual DOT inspection. Why? So that the DOT and FMCSA can ensure compliance through their safety standards. DOT safety inspections must get conducted statewide. And seventeen counties in Texas also conduct emissions testing. This way, Texas vehicles can adhere to US government clean air mandates. A DOT vehicle inspection takes place at official vehicle inspection stations. These inspections get licensed through the DPS. Now, let’s continue going over the basics of DOT inspections in Texas. Make sure you comply with the Texas DOT Requirements in advance. 

Annual Federal DOT Inspections & Annual Texas DOT Inspections

The DOT has the power to conduct annual federal inspections. But it also administers annual Texas DOT inspections. Every commercial vehicle within Texas must pass the annual DOT inspection. Doing so will ensure that a driver meets DOT and FMCSA compliance standards. Plus, there are also DOT and FMCSA safety standards that drivers must meet. 

Once again, check to see if your county in Texas conducts emissions testing. There are seventeen Texas counties that can add this testing to a DOT inspection. Plus, you can learn more information about DOT inspections on the DOT website. That website will list the guidelines for both state and federal DOT inspections. Plus, you can use the DOT website to find vehicle inspection station locations. The TxDMV website might also have this information. If you have any trouble, do not hesitate to contact Moving Authority. Our DOT compliance experts can answer your questions and provide solutions.

Information About Passing & Failing DOT State Inspections in Texas

Let’s say that your commercial motor vehicle passes a DOT inspection in Texas. This means that you’ll have completed your DOT registration. The TX DOT will provide you with a sticker once you renew your registration. You can apply the sticker to your commercial vehicle. Having a sticker proves that your Texas vehicle passed inspection. Plus, the sticker proves that a driver has official DOT registration for operating. Consider going to the Texas Two Steps One Sticker website. It’s an official government site that has more information about DOT registration.

Now, assume that your Texas vehicle failed the DOT inspection. The first step a driver should take is to have the vehicle repaired. Then, the vehicle can get inspected again by the DOT. If the TX DOT accepts the repairs, then you can complete the DOT registration. But say that your commercial vehicle fails the DOT re-inspection. Do not despair. This means that there’s a strong chance you can receive a waiver from the DOT. We recommend contacting the Texas Department of Transportation about re-inspection.

Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Policies Through the Department of Transportation

Every commercial vehicle in Texas becomes subject to the DOT 49 CFR part 396 rules. These rules assess how an inspection certificate can get issued to a Texas driver. Keep in mind that a TX cab card does not show proof of a valid DOT inspection. A standard registration receipt is also not proof of a valid DOT inspection. Only an official VIR (Vehicle Inspection Report) serves as proof of a DOT inspection. A VIR will state that a valid inspection by the DOT took place within twelve months.

Having a complete Vehicle Inspection Report(VIR)  is crucial to your success as a driver. The inspection report will recognize your vehicle and provide a DOT statement. Plus, the inspection reports gets signed by a DOT inspector. The inspector will confirm that the inspection adhered to the DOT rules of 49 CFR part 396. Do your best to hold onto a copy of your VIR. You’ll have to present it during DOT or FMCSA roadside inspections. Plus, you’ll need to show your VIR during any traffic stop. Without the VIR, you're operating without DOT compliance. And that’s a violation of both Texas state and federal law. Also, a grace period does not exist for commercial vehicle registrations and inspections. That’s why you need to keep your DOT registration up-to-date at all times. Otherwise, your business could get penalized and fined into nonexistence.

How Much Is a DOT Inspection in Texas?

The cost of a DOT inspection depends on the exact type of inspection through the DOT. The amount you pay at an inspection station can vary based on different factors. A new vehicle (two-year safety) inspection costs about seven dollars. The standard DOT commercial inspection is about forty dollars. If you need a DOT inspection of your trailer, it costs about seven dollars. Again, these Texas inspection prices can change.

How Do I Get Certified for a DOT Inspection in Texas?

The Texas DMV website and Texas DOT site provides full-scale inspection information. Here are the basics of reaching DOT certification in Texas. You must be over the age of eighteen. An applicant has to have a valid CDL: commercial driver’s license. Otherwise, a driver cannot operate a motor vehicle in the state of Texas. Have you gotten involved with the Texas vehicle inspection program in the past? If so, you must have an active suspension or have a revoked status in the program. An applicant for inspection must submit a DOT application. Plus, the applicant has to pass a DOT background check.

What Does a DOT Truck Inspection Consist Of?

Let’s now go over the basics of a DOT truck inspection within the state of Texas. A vehicle only inspection will assess your brakes, cargo, fuel, lighting, and tires. But that’s not all a DOT inspector examines. The inspector also assesses exhaust, suspensions, steering, and a trailer. An inspection also focuses on the steering wheel, emergency exits, and windshield wipers. The battery and engine of the commercial vehicle also matter. Both become subject to any DOT inspection. This might sound like a lot. But do not expect a DOT vehicle only inspection to last more than 30 minutes or so.

What Are the DOT Inspection Levels?

There are six standard levels of DOT inspections. These DOT levels apply to both Texas and federal inspections. Level I functions as the North American Standard Inspection. A Level II DOT inspection refers to the Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection. Any Level III inspection is a DOT Driver Only Inspection. Level IV DOT inspections are Special Inspections. Every Level V inspection is a DOT Vehicle Only Inspection. This is a very common inspection by the DOT in Texas. A Level VI inspection by the DOT is less common. It functions as an Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments.

Can the DOT Pull You Over?

Yes, the DOT can pull you over in Texas or any other state. Either a state trooper or DOT officer has the authority to do so at any location. Locations include truck stops, weigh stations, and on the side of a road. A driver must remain professional when getting pulled over by the DOT. Plus, each driver must show proof that a recent DOT inspection took place. This is reason enough to stay in compliance with the DOT in Texas. You do not want to risk getting fined or penalized by the DOT.

How Do I Find a Copy of MY DOT Inspection Report

The Texas Department of Public Safety will archive a copy of your DOT inspection report. To find it, go to the TX DPS website. Click on “Inspection Information.” Then, you can click: "Download your Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR)."

What Should I Have When TX DOT Commercial Inspections Take Place?

Do you have an upcoming Texas DOT commercial inspection? If so, you must provide DOT inspectors with proof of liability insurance. The liability insurance policy must stay activated for the next thirty days. You will also need to provide DOT inspectors with a readable data plate. Plus, the inspectors will also need to see a readable VIN number.

Questions About Getting Your Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspected? Contact Us Today

If you have questions about commercial motor vehicle inspections, please call us now. The Moving Authority team has many years of experience in all aspects of DOT compliance. We can assess your unique situation and help you find long-term solutions. This way, you can get prepared for every DOT registration and inspection step. All you've got to do is give our DOT experts a call at any moment. We look forward to helping you and your commercial Texas business succeed.

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