Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) Pre-Trip Inspection Requirements.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) Pre-Trip Inspection Requirements.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides regulations and requirements for owners of commercial vehicles, including trailers and trucks, to comply with during pre-trip inspections. As the truck drivers, truckers, fleet owners, and managers of shipping equipment prepare to ship light to heavy cargo, they should perform all the mandatory checks that adhere to DOT regulations.

The laws are vital because they ensure the safety of packages, drivers, and the public by only allowing trucks in good working condition to hit the highway. A thorough equipment transport inspection also helps ascertain that any identified issues are addressed before a trucker transports goods.

Bobcat Skid Steer and Komatsu Mini Excavator loaded for transport together

What are Pre-Trip Inspection Requirements?

One of the requirements is for drivers to report any defects or deficiencies in their trucks that could affect normal operations and have a mechanical breakdown. DOT pre-trip inspection requirements entail federal and state laws requiring truck drivers to check their trucks before driving them daily.

The federal and state requirements expect drivers to perform general inspections of the following parts before using a truck to transport cargo:

  • Exterior parts,
  • Brakes
  • Wheels, rims, tires and lugs
  • Suspension components
  • Lights, lamps, and markers
  • Horn, windshield wipers, rear vision mirrors,
  • Coupling devices and emergency tools.
  • Tie-down bolsters
  • Sliders, locking pins, hooks, and clamps
  • Airline connections

After the inspections, the FMSCA and DOT require a Driver Vehicle Examination Report with the results of the checkups. The comprehensive reports should pinpoint all the identified issues, including defects and deficiencies, and the interventions to correct them to make the truck operate optimally and efficiently for goods and equipment.

An agent or motor carrier certifies that the identified problems in the rigs or trailers are fixed. If the trucks are unsafe for the road, drivers put them out of service until they undergo the necessary repairs.

Mark II Tamper and Cart loaded for transport

Why Does The FMCA Require Pre-Trip Inspection?

FMCA requires truck pre-trip checkups for numerous reasons, including:

  • Compliance with the set federal maintenance standards: Truckers and fleet owners should comply with regulations for pre-trip checks to ensure that all parts of the truck are functioning efficiently. FMCA promotes safety by advocating that all truckers and fleet owners adhere to the regulations.
  • Reduces the prevalence of truck accidents: Trailer or semi-truck drivers perform all the exterior and interior or cab inspections and repair the damaged parts to reduce the risk of accidents. FMCA prevents avoidable accidents on the road that might be due to failed braking systems, poor dash cams, and broken side mirrors.
  • Increase highway safety: The FMCA recommends pre-trip truck inspections to ensure maximum road safety. The checks are essential for identifying mishaps, damages, and other potential issues that need prompt and quality repairs or replacement to keep the truckers, cargo, and road users safe.
  • Create an impressive reputation in the shipping industry: Pre-trip truck and equipment transport inspections are vital for FMSCA because it wants to create a positive image of the shipping industry by increasing road safety.
  • Preserve environment: trucks, trailers, or semi-trucks undergo thorough pre-trip inspections to lower carbon dioxide and greenhouse emissions that cause climate change and global warming. FMCA regulations aim to protect the environment from increased carbon emissions as an environmentally sustainable measure.

Is The Pre-Trip Inspection Essential?

Yes, that is the answer to this question. Pre-trip truck, trailer, and equipment transport inspections are essential for the public, fleet owners, truckers, and shipping company owners. The public, including cyclists, motorists, car owners, pedestrians, and other road users, benefits from the inspections through increased safety as truck accidents decrease.

Truckers, fleet owners, and shipping companies find the pre-trip trailer and truck inspection essential because they reduce costs. Repairs after thorough pre-trip truck checkups might be cheaper than fixing a trailer or semi-truck that breaks down on the road while in transit. The driver examination report of the truck also saves truckers from paying avoidable penalties or fines and legal fees due to noncompliance with regulations.

Fleet owners and shipping companies can also use the pre-trip examination reports to prove that their trucks undergo regular maintenance according to FMSCA and DOT regulations and to claim insurance in case of accidents.


Truckers, fleet owners, and shipping equipment managers should understand the federal and state FMSCA and DOT pre-trip inspection requirements for compliance before allowing a truck or semi-truck on the highway.

Following the regulations to the letter increases safety, prevents costly legal or penalty costs, preserves the environment, and prevents truck accidents. Hiring an NTS logistics company with transport industry knowledge can help ensure compliance with the inspection regulations.


Reach out to a logistics specialist from Nationwide Transport Services, LLC for more information on any topic in logistics by dialing (877) 278-3135.

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