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CDL - Required Inspections

​This Tailgate Talk is part of the NLTAPA collection.

Safety is the most important reason you inspect your vehicle. As a responsible operator, your number one job concern is safety for yourself and for others on the road. A vehicle defect found during an inspection could save you problems later on. You could have a breakdown on the road which will cost time and lost productivity, or even worse, a crash caused by the defect. 


Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. A pre-trip inspection will help you find problems before they happen. The EM-78 "Operators Daily Report for Mobile Equipment" is the form to use and contains all of the necessary inspection points on a dump truck including snow plowing equipment. A similar form is available for inspection loaders. 


You should do a pre-trip inspection the same way each time so you'll be less likely to forget something. In addition to the finer points, make sure that you notice the general condition of your vehicle. Look for visible damage or the vehicle leaning to one side. Look under the vehicle for fresh oil, coolant, grease, or fuel leaks. 


SAFETY NOTE: Always put the vehicle key in your pocket - or someone might move the vehicle while you're under or behind it. This is a good "lock-out" practice. 


During a trip, you should watch gauges for signs of trouble. Use your senses (look, listen, smell, feel) to check for problems. Check critical items when you stop such as tires, wheels, rims, brakes, lights, and reflectors. At the end of the work shift, you should do an after-trip inspection which involves completing the EM-78 with a notation of any problems you find that need repair. This will help your supervisor know when repairs are needed and prevent handing off a problem to another operator.