Commercial truck drivers are required by law to complete a Department of Transportation (DOT) pre-trip truck inspection checklist before starting every trip. However, truckers also work under tight deadlines, so naturally want to hit the road quickly to arrive at their destinations on time. Still, that’s never an excuse to skip full a pre-trip inspection of all parts and systems.
Unfortunately, Michigan truckers don’t always follow the rules despite their legal duty to conduct pre-trip inspections. When their failure to obey mandatory trucking regulations causes an accident, the driver or their employer could be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Did you suffer serious injuries in a truck accident caused by a vehicle defect or a truck driver’s failure to properly inspect their rig? Talk to an experienced Michigan truck accident attorney at Christensen Law about your right to compensation. Our law firm is a leader in truck accident litigation. Founding attorney David Christensen won the largest personal injury verdict in Michigan ― $17.8 million on behalf of a woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury after a collision with a cement truck in Wayne County.
Call us or contact us online today for a free consultation.
What Is a Pre-Trip Inspection?
Truck drivers must perform a pre-trip inspection of their trucks at the beginning of each shift to ensure the vehicle is in safe operating condition. The process starts by reviewing past reports to verify that all necessary repairs were made.
Next, the driver conducts a simple but comprehensive inspection of all of the truck’s parts and systems, and records the results of the inspection in their logbook. The inspection allows truckers to correct any problems before driving to minimize the chances of a malfunction or breakdown.
Level 1 CDL Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist
A Level 1 DOT inspection is one of six levels of DOT inspections. Level 1 is considered the most thorough type of truck inspection. It is also the most common.
The essential components of a Level 1 DOT inspection include:
- Driver logbook
- Buckled up with a seatbelt
- Medical examiner’s certification
- Hours of service
- Truck frame
- Lubrication oil
- Mechanical brakes
- Tire rims
- Tractor-trailer bodies
- Hazmat placards
- Steering wheel
- Fuel system
- Exhaust system
- Clutch pedal
- Shift controls
- Brake lights
- Secured cargo
- Truck inspection report
In Michigan, individuals who wish to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL) must demonstrate their ability to thoroughly inspect their vehicles on the Section 11 Vehicle Inspection Test.
How Long Should a DOT Pre-trip Inspection Take?
Typically, it takes around 30 to 50 minutes to do a careful pre-trip inspection. Truck drivers who fail to conduct the required truck inspections properly could face serious consequences. They may be fined and see their trucks placed out of service. If the violation is particularly serious, they could even face jail time.
If a trucker rushes through a pre-trip inspection, they place every nearby motorist in harm’s way. Michigan law allows crash victims to pursue compensation for their injuries if they are seriously injured in a truck accident caused by negligent acts. Failing to complete a pre-trip inspection is a perfect example of negligence.
Why Is It Important to Do Pre-and Post-Trip Inspections?
Large trucks can cause devastating accidents that result in catastrophic injuries to other people. For this reason, truck drivers must review every detail on their Michigan CDL pre-trip inspection checklist carefully. Skipping even one item could mean missing a defect that could lead to an otherwise preventable crash.
Post-trip inspections are also important. A post-trip inspection allows truck drivers to ensure that their truck is safe after a trip is complete. If any problems arose during the trip, performing a post-trip inspection will help drivers detect those issues and repair them before heading out again.
What Happens If Pre-Trip Inspection Rules Aren’t Followed?
The potential consequences of not conducting a pre-trip inspection extend far beyond financial penalties for truckers and their employers. An uninspected truck operated by a negligent driver puts countless lives at risk.
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data, the top five truck inspection violations in 2019 were:
|Type of Truck Inspection Violation||# of Inspection Violations (2019)|
|Proof of inspection||184,938|
|Needed parts repair||134,764|
A closer look at these violations highlights just how dangerous a poorly conducted inspected tractor-trailer can be. Burned-out lights, or lights that are prevented from working correctly due to the installation of auxiliary devices on the truck, can lead to deadly nighttime accidents. Brake failure can prevent large trucks from stopping or slowing down in an emergency. And problems with emergency equipment and unrepaired auto parts are not just dangerous ― it’s unacceptable and preventable.
Get Help from a Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you sustained injuries in a truck accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver in Michigan, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. Christensen Law is a leading personal injury law firm with offices in Detroit, Southfield, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor.
Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a trusted truck accident lawyer.