As a commercial driver, you're required by law to be DOT (Department of Transportation) compliant. Failure to do so could result in hefty fines, suspension of commercial driving license, and even jail time. Fortunately, these tips will help you stay compliant when on the road.
1. Stay Off Substances
Working as a full-time commercial driver can get lonely, especially if your business requires you to travel across state lines. This loneliness makes it quite easy to use substances, be it alcohol or drugs. These substances can drastically impair your ability to drive a commercial truck safely.
For this reason, you should just stay away from any substances at all costs. The only substances you should consider taking are ones prescribed by your doctor, as long as they don't interfere with your ability to drive. Being sober and clear-minded is the only effective way you can handle adverse scenarios should they come your way on the road.
2. Regularly Service Your Vehicle
No matter how new and great your commercial vehicle performs, it still needs to be serviced on a regular basis. Failing to do this could cause problems to your commercial vehicle, which ultimately could lead to costly accidents that could have easily been avoided.
To remain DOT compliant, you need to save receipts showing that your commercial vehicle has been serviced regularly by a professional. These services should include oil changes, air filter replacements, and annual inspections. Be sure to also submit this documentation to your employer, so they can show you went through the necessary safety protocol before operating a commercial vehicle.
3. Don't Exceed Cargo Weight Limit
If you drive a commercial vehicle carrying a lot of heavy cargo, it's absolutely essential to not exceed the maximum cargo weight limit. This varies from truck to truck, so you'll want to know what your vehicle's capacity is so that you can safely maintain control of your vehicle, at all times.
To ensure you're carrying a safe amount of weight, there are tow weighing stations that you'll be required to utilize. If you exceed the maximum limit according to these weighing stations, you'll need to adjust your cargo before proceeding to your target destination.
Driving a commercial vehicle can be a lucrative career, but it does involve being DOT compliant. This won't be difficult as long as you research the necessary criteria and comply with it before, during, and after every drive.