5 Common DOT Violations and How to Avoid Them

Trucks are responsible for transportation of majority of our products and supplies. Over 11 billion tons of freight is shipped each year. Food, clothing, cars and sometimes hazardous material are transported by trucks. Almost 94% of hazmat shipments done daily are performed with a truck or tractor trailer accounting for about 3 billion tons shipped annually. With all these shipments it only makes sense that there are strict regulations on the hazardous material, as well as violations against those regulations. Read below to see the most common violations the DOT sees on a regular basis.


It is obvious that lights should be in working order, but there are many many lights on a large truck. This doesn’t mean you get a free pass for one of them being out. What that means is that the lights need to be checked every time you stop somewhere. Pre-trip and post-trip inspections are the only way to inspect for yourself. Use your DOT hazardous materials training to help you realize where all the lights are. You’ll be surprised to find that even the license plate lights must be illuminated. Failure to do so can result in a fine.


Oil leaking from your truck could cause a major issue or two. One of these issues could be a fine from DOT. Leaky oil gaskets can cause oil leaks which can lead to fires, hence the reason you will get fined for having a leaky gasket. After so many fines, you could lose your DOT hazmat certification which means you are not longer allowed to be working with hazardous wastes. Remedy any and all oil leaks to eliminate this potential problem.


Anyone who holds a CDL must have a verified medical license. This includes those who have received DOT hazardous materials training and certification. If you don’t have a valid medical card you will get fined. To ensure this doesn’t happen make sure to keep up with your expiration date of your medical card. Sometimes that is not the same date as your CDL which makes it hard for those who drive trucks. Keeping track of the separate date will ensure it is replaced before it expires so you are not fined.

Drug Tests

Drug test are a requirement although they are not always performed. Not performing a drug test is a direct violation and can warrant a fine. If you have not had a drug test, you should make sure to get one and make sure that you have it on file. This may seem like you are doing someone else’s job, but it means you are actually covering your butt and making sure that you don’t get into trouble for not having a drug test done.


Every driver must have a license which matches the load they are carrying. A CDL is required but there may be more requirements. In order to be carrying a load full of hazardous material drivers must go through DOT hazardous materials training and pass a test in order to get certification to be able to carry those loads. Not having the correct license for the load you are carrying can result not only in a fine, but also in loosing your license.

You work hard for your DOT hazardous materials training and certification, therefore you want to make sure that you don’t loose it. Following all the rules and regulations can ensure that you don’t get fined by the DOT, and these are the most common violations. A little time spent now can eliminate lots of money having to be spent later on fines.

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