Semi trucks are often pulled over by police officers for inspections. Have you ever wondered why the cops are always pulling over semi trucks?
Do you want to be prepared for when your semi truck gets pulled over by the cops and ensure that you have everything required at the ready?
Read on to find out more about why cops pull over semi trucks.
Here’s a short summary on Why Cops Pull Over Semi Trucks:
Cops have the authority to pull over semi trucks even if they have not broken any traffic laws. Routine inspections are done on semi trucks to ensure that they comply with the many regulations they need to abide by. Cops can give out fines for any faults they find on a semi truck.
Do Cops Pull Over Truck Drivers?
Cops regularly pull over semi trucks on the side of the road. The police are authorized to pull over a semi truck even if the driver has not committed a traffic offense.
Semi trucks have many regulations they need to comply with, which makes them easy targets for police officers who are writing out traffic fines.
The chances of an officer finding a fault on a semi truck are incredibly high because of the sheer amount of rules they need to abide by.
Anything from outdated documents to something as small as a dirty license plate can be an offense that would allow an officer to give the driver a ticket.
Can DOT Pull You Over?
DOT is short for the Department of Transportation. DoT regulations govern the entire transportation industry, including semi trucks.
DOT has its own highway patrols who are authorized to pull over any semi trucks for an inspection. They will be checking for anything that does not comply with their rules.
While they are not allowed to search through the driver’s personal belongings and cabinets in a sleeper cabin, they are allowed to inspect the truck and ask the driver to provide the necessary documents.
How Often are DOT Inspections Required?
DOT inspections need to be done every 12 months. These annual inspections are done by a DOT officer who has training and certification.
All semi trucks that weigh over 10,000 lbs must undergo inspections. DOT inspections are done to ensure that all parts of a semi truck are safe and in working order.
During your annual DOT inspection, there are three main things to remember to ensure that it runs smoothly and gets done quickly.
The first is to have all of your paperwork organized. This will allow the process to run quickly instead of the inspector having to search through files to find what they need.
The second part of a successful DOT inspection is ensuring that your semi truck’s maintenance is updated.
Regular maintenance will mean less of a chance that the inspector will find any faults on your semi truck.
The third is to have a positive attitude during the inspection and always be friendly and helpful toward the inspector. If you make their job difficult, they will make the inspection difficult for you as well.
Why do Cops Pull Over Semi Trucks more than Cars?
Semi trucks are pulled over more often than cars because the police do not need a specific reason to pull over a semi truck.
Unlike cars, cops can pull over a semi truck even if the driver has not committed any traffic violations. Cops can pull over a semi truck simply to do an inspection.
The inspection could be to check the vehicle’s overall condition and if any regulations are not being followed.
Often, cops will also pull over semi trucks to check their cargo if they are transporting any illegal items.
Qualified officers can also stop a semi truck from conducting a DOT check to ensure that the vehicle has done its annual DOT inspection, which is not seen in cars.
Why do Cops Pull Over Semi Trucks?
There are several reasons why the cops might pull over a semi truck. The first is for traffic violations, the same reason as any other car would be pulled over.
Traffic violations could include speeding, reckless driving, dangerous lane changes, ignoring signage, and more.
Cops also pull over semi trucks to check that the vehicle is roadworthy and safe to use. Semi trucks often drive thousands of miles which causes a lot of stress on the integral parts of the semi truck.
Police are authorized to stop any semi truck without probable cause. They can do so to do their basic checks and ensure that all of the regulations are followed.
Semi trucks are easy targets for police to pull over because there is a high chance that they can find an offense that they can give out a ticket for.
Because of all the regulations semi trucks need to abide by, it is nearly impossible to have everything in perfect order at all times.
Bookable offenses could include having outdated documentation, a dirty license plate, faulty headlights or brake lights, or something else they might deem unsafe on the semi truck.
What Traffic Violations do Cops Pull Over Semi Trucks for?
Most semi trucks will be pulled over for the same traffic violations as a regular car would be pulled over for as well.
For example, they could be pulled over for speeding, which can include the indicated speed limit on their trailer instead of the road speed limit.
Other offenses can include dangerous lane changes such as pulling out in front of other vehicles, ignoring signage on the road, reckless driving, and using a phone while driving.
Following other vehicles too closely can also result in a semi truck being pulled over.
Semi trucks take a long time to slow down, and they generally need to keep a much larger distance between them and the vehicle in front of them.
In some cases, cops will also pull a semi truck over if they think that the cargo on their trailer is not secured correctly.
If this is the case, the cargo can become dislodged while driving and cause a severe accident.
What Inspections do Cops Pull Over Semi Trucks for?
Cops will pull over semi trucks for several different inspections. These can all be done simultaneously, or in some cases, only a few inspections will be done.
The first inspection will be on the driver and inside the cabin. They will regularly check for a driver who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Cops will also inspect the general safety and the condition of the semi truck. This can include integral parts such as the suspension, wheels, tires, lights, and more.
Officers will also regularly pull over semi trucks to inspect the cargo they are carrying. This is to check that they are not transporting anything suspicious or illegal on their semi truck.
Do Cops have Quotas when Pulling Over Semi Trucks?
Ticket quotas are banned in some states. However, the majority of police officers do have monthly quotas that they need to fill when it comes to writing tickets.
In most cases, cops will get into trouble if they are not writing enough tickets, which means they will be looking for opportunities to write out tickets.
Many truck companies and drivers have complained about this since semi truck drivers can be pulled over without doing anything wrong.
Many drivers have criticized the ‘predatory’ tactics that officers use to fill their quotas when they book a driver for an offense that might be harmless.
What Trucks get Pulled Over the Most?
There doesn’t seem to be any specific semi trucks that get pulled over more than others. However, all semi trucks are at risk of being pulled over by cops since they do not need probable cause.
In most cases, a cop can see an apparent fault or breach of a regulation on a semi truck, they will definitely be pulled over since it will be an easy ticket to give out.
However, if everything on your semi truck is in order and clean, and in good condition, you may be less likely to be pulled over by cops.
What to Expect when a Cop Pulls Over your Semi Truck?
There are a few things that cops look out for when they pull over a semi truck. DOT officers are trained to be highly attentive and pay close attention to details.
When your semi truck is pulled over, you will be required to stay in the semi truck with the door closed. Only when the officer reaches your door will they ask you to open the door.
This will allow them to smell any alcohol or drug usage in the cabin of the vehicle.
They will also check the seats and floor for any cigarette burn marks. In some cases, they may request to check the inside of the cabin.
DOT officers will also begin to make conversation with the driver while doing their inspection.
This is done with a purpose. Drivers who have something to hide will be nervous and struggle to hold a normal conversation.
The officer will then check if the tires on the semi truck are still in good condition. They will also be looking for any inconsistencies in the paint as this would raise suspicion.
Some semi truck companies and even drivers hide rusted or damaged parts by painting over them. If there is a fresh coat of paint on your semi truck you may need to explain it.
DOT officers will also check for spare tires, reflective tape, proper cargo securement, and trailer attachment.
They may also request to see the vehicle’s documentation to check if everything is up to date.
Tips to Prepare your Semi Truck for a Routine Inspection?
There are several ways that you can prepare yourself and your semi truck for a routine inspection when cops pull you over.
The first is to ensure that you stay calm and friendly when the officer is conducting their inspection. If you are nervous or aggravated, they may become suspicious or cause you some headaches.
Regular maintenance and taking proper care of your semi truck are crucial to surviving inspections.
If your semi truck’s maintenance is always up to date, there is nothing to worry about, and they are less likely to find any problems.
Having your documentation up to date and readily available is always a good idea. This could be part of their inspection, and they can ask for it at any time.
Often an officer will pop their head into the door and check the driver’s cabin.
While they are not allowed to inspect the cabin, it could show that the driver is responsible and organized if they see a clean and organized cabin.
Sometimes officers will ask drivers questions about their semi truck. For example, they might ask about the trailer’s tire pressures.
Most drivers who don’t check their trailer tire pressures will lie to the officer. However, this is not a good idea. The tip here is to know everything about your semi truck and everything going on with your semi truck.
Finally, a good tip is to learn from each inspection.
Understanding what the officers look for and what questions they will ask you can help you immensely with any future inspections.