Risk 9, Operating A CMV Without An Annual Inspection

Did you know that ALL CMVs are required to have an annual DOT inspection?

That means that any vehicle that is used in interstate commerce and has a GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) over 10K lbs needs to have an inspection.

Let’s say that you have a ½ ton truck with a GVWR of 8K lbs.

Because it is under 10K GVWR it is not a CMV.

Now you hook up a trailer with a GVWR of 10K lbs.

IS that a CMV?

You bet it is. 

Even though both vehicles have a GVWR of 10K or less the GCWR is over 10K. when you hooked up to the trailer it turned that ½ ton pickup and the trailer into CMVs.

The driver would need a medical card, a DQ file, and both vehicles (the truck and Trailer) would need vehicle maintenance files and annual DOT inspections.

The inspection can be done by anyone who has been deemed qualified. You can either have a third party do your annual inspections or you can do them in-house.

If you chose to do them in-house you will need to have an inspector’s certification completed for the inspector.

If you choose to have a third party do them then you will need to obtain the inspector’s certification for that inspector from the third-party vendor.

This is by far one of the lowest fines when it comes to an audit.

They start around $125 and cap out less than $500. Per occurrence.

Where it can get pricey is that they can look for 2 per vehicle. You need to have 2 in the vehicle maintenance file for all vehicles that you have owned for more than 12 months.

If you have 20 trucks and 30 trailers and you didn’t have any annual inspections, or they found that you operated a vehicle while the annual inspection was expired then they can cite you for that. Let’s say that you didn’t have any annual inspections at all and you have owned the vehicles for multiple years.

The max fine you could get would be $480 (max fine) x 50 (vehicles) x 2 (years) = $48K

I know it might not seem like much, but it is one of the smallest fines per occurrence you can get during an audit.

What happens if your driver gets into an accident?

Do you think insurance will cover you if you are not following the rules?

Most likely not.

There is an exception though.

If you are trying and simply miss getting the annual inspection done by a few days then your insurance company could be forgiving and help you if you are involved in legal actions. But they would not be required to because you were not following the rules to a “T”.

Personally, I would classify this one as lower risk as long as you were actually trying to do it right and just made a mistake.

What about your personal risk?

Again I would say this could go either way. 

If you were trying to do it right and could show that you simply missed getting the annual inspection completed a few days late then your risk is much lower.

On the other hand, if you have never done an annual inspection, then your risk is extreme. 

They could slap you with Gross Negligence and throw the book at you.

That means possible jail time for you, the leader and the driver for operating a vehicle that was not fit to be on the road.

To be 100% honest you ALWAYS want a paper trail showing that you were trying to do it right.

Financial Risk for an audit: Low to Medium.

Financial Risk in litigation: Medium to High

Personal Risk: Medium to High to Extreme depending on if you were really trying to be in compliance or not. 

How to Fix Risk 9, Operating A CMV Without An Annual Inspection

The best way to mitigate the risk of not having an annual DOT inspection is to get one.


That’s right you simply find a local mechanic that does DOT inspections and get all of your vehicles inspected ASAP.

Can I do it “in-house”?

You bet you can!

In fact, if you have a mechanic on staff I would highly recommend that you do it “in-house”.

But Dan, what if I have a mechanic but they are not qualified to do DOT annual inspections?

We can help there too.

Our team is building an annual inspection course right now that your driver can take at their leisure. Directly from their phone, tablet, or computer. After that short course, they are 100% qualified to do the inspections for your company.

The Eclipse DOT Team also has the inspection forms and stickers so that you don’t have to take valuable time searching for the best deal.

We’ve got you covered there too.

Not to mention our copyrighted stickers are the BEST on the market by far.

You’ve probably seen those UGLY, RED eyesores on the side of a truck that other companies use.


Not Me!!

Or how about that big white sticker that fades after being in the sun for 1 month?

What a useless design!

It was built for a reason though, so they could sell you more stickers.

I HATE companies like that, who design CRAP so they can sell more of it.

Just take time and build a GREAT product that people LOVE using!

And that is exactly why we created a sticker that is embossable, meaning that you write on it with any ballpoint pen, and it embosses the sticker so it will never fade.

We didn’t stop there though.

We also made it small enough to go inside the door jamb of ANY truck.  And it’s also black so that it’s not noticeable from a mile away if you do decide to put it on the outside.

If you want to DEMO some of our forms and stickers all you have to do is email Info@Eclipse-DOT.com and put “I Want To Demo Your Annual Inspection Stickers” in the subject line. Be sure to include your shipping address so we can ship you some forms and stickers 100% FREE!

Don’t have a mechanic on staff.

No Problem!

We have several experts on staff that can conduct annual inspections for you. 

The best thing about us is that we are not a shop so we are not going to “find” problems that don’t exist just so that we can get more work and keep your truck longer.

When we find an issue we let you know what we find, then we will even recommend a few shops that you could take it to get fixed.

Our team is here for your 150%

You might be thinking, “Dan I just learned that ALL of my vehicles are out of compliance because I didn’t know anything about this annual Inspection thing until a few moments ago when you told me. What do I do now?”

Here’s the thing to remember about DOT.

In an audit, as long as you are NOT a JERK, and you are trying to fix the problem they will almost always be forgiving.

What I mean by that is that if you find out that you were missing a few things and are actively trying to fix them they most likely will still write the violations but will be extremely lenient on the fines.

Meaning that they are still going to document that they found something wrong. But instead of $5K in fines, they will drop it down to a very minimal number.

On the other hand, in an investigation or litigation, those same violations can cause you some real heartache.

And that’s where we come into play for your team.

When you sign on with Eclipse DOT you get WAY MORE than just a platform that makes your life easier.

You get real-life experts that EAT, BREATH, & LIVE DOT EVERY DAY on your side!

That right there is AMAZING.

What are you waiting for?

Head over to www.DOTDocs.com and sign up today!

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