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A Pre-trip Truck Inspection

A list of safety checks a truck driver must follow before getting behind the wheel

The pre-trip inspection is a systematic check of the semi-truck’s parts and systems that must be completed by a truck driver before every trip. It is required by law.

The truck driver should begin the pre-trip inspection by reviewing previous truck inspection reports. If anything was marked for repair by a company mechanic, the driver must double-check to see if the problem was in-fact, addressed and repaired.

The driver should then check the overall condition of the truck for any damage. For example, if the vehicle is leaning to one side, there may be a suspension problem or a flat tire that could lead to a crash.

Daily maintenance checks include:

  • Lubrication oil
  • Water
  • Fuel
  • Air cleaner
  • Air compressor
  • Air brake system
  • Tires
  • Alack adjusters
  • Lights
  • Mechanical brakes
  • Shift controls
  • Automatic transmission
  • Warning stickers
  • Ammeter
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Clutch pedal
  • Electrical starting system.

When the pre-trip inspection is ignored

Although it’s mandatory and critical, pre-trip inspection rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are often ignored by drivers, and not enforced by trucking company safety officers.

That’s why there are still far too many dangerous and defective trucks on Michigan roads. The latest estimate from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is that one out of every five trucks is “out of service,” meaning it has has mechanical defects and violations that are so serious that it is illegal to drive the truck. These defects often play a critical role in causing preventable crashes.

An attorney pursuing an accident investigation following a serious injury or wrongful death should always review the pre-trip inspection report. Often, the report will show the inspection was never completed, was not performed properly, or that a safety defect such as defective brakes was discovered but the truck was taken on the highway regardless.

An experienced truck accident attorney should also consider deposing the company safety director, and depending on how the truck accident occurred, the company mechanics and the employees who repaired the truck after the defect was found.

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