Despite the name, DOT Blitz Week is actually a three-day event during which the Department of Transport (DOT) conducts numerous annual inspections.
What is DOT Blitz Week?
The general aim of this is to inspect commercial motor vehicles road equipment and the drivers using it. This includes trucks, equipment, drivers, and more. The thing to keep in mind is that all of these things can age and deteriorate with time. Trucks can wear down, or might need parts replaced. Likewise, equipment can experience faults and potentially even become unsafe after a long period.
It’s even true that drivers themselves can become less reliable and safe over time, even though this is something that we probably would prefer not to admit!
It’s very important that the DOT carry out routine inspections and maintenance to ensure that unsafe vehicles and equipment are not in use, and that all drivers are up to task and are not hazardous to others on the road.
While this is something that should be ongoing though, it’s also true that it’s possible to maintain always on top of this.
This is where the DOT Blitz Week comes in.
Over three days, 9,000 inspectors (or thereabouts) will be called in in order to inspect commercial vehicles and drivers. This will involve following set protocols – the North American Standard Level 1 Inspection. This is a 37-step process that not only looks at the equipment, but also the drivers themselves.
While this is the primary inspection that will be carried out, inspectors can also use a number of other processes to ensure safety standards are being met. For instance, they might also conduct a Level 2 Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection, or they might upgrade this to a Level 3 Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection. Finally, they might use the Level 5 Vehicle Only Inspection.
Choosing which of these methods to use is ultimately down to the discretion of the inspector.
Should a vehicle or driver be found to be in violation during an inspection, those vehicles may be put out of service and drivers may be suspended. As a result, that means the vehicle is no longer allowed to move until any serious violations have been corrected.
Should the vehicle and driver pass the inspection, then they will receive a CVSA decal to denote this.
2019 DOT Blitz Week
The most recent DOT Blitz Week had a heavier focus on steering and suspensions systems. This was due to a note from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) that identified the importance of those components for any commercial vehicle.
Steering and suspension support become particularly important for trucks carrying very heavy loads. This helps prevent damage to the goods, and also ensures stability and balance during acceleration and braking.
Facts and Figures
Some interesting facts regarding Blitz Week are as follows:
- During the average Blitz Week, an amazing 17 commercial vehicles are inspected every single minute
- Last year, the CVSA identified 537 steering violations
- Likewise, 286 commercial vehicles were decommissioned during 2019 Blitz Week
- This also saw 500 suspension violations and 538 suspension related OOS citations issued
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