CDL Pre-Trip Truck Inspection List in Utah

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all commercial drivers to inspect their trucks before each trip. A pre-trip inspection helps truckers identify worn parts to prevent failures and ensure they carry essential safety and emergency equipment on board.

Semi-trucks that fail pre-trip inspections must remain out of service until the driver or fleet operator completes repairs. Failure to comply with the law puts countless lives in danger and can lead to preventable accidents.

Did you suffer injuries in a Utah truck accident? A driver or motor carrier who failed to address problems after a CDL pre-trip inspection could be liable for your losses. Consulting an experienced lawyer is a smart way to determine your next steps.

The truck accident attorneys at Swenson & Shelley are fierce advocates for the rights of injured people. Let us help you pursue the compensation you need to move on with your life. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.

Contact a Utah Truck Accident Attorney

Which Vehicles Require Pre-Trip Inspections?

FMCSA requires drivers to obtain a CDL to drive three types of commercial motor vehicles:

  • Class A and B endorsements cover vehicles with a combined gross weight of over 26,000 pounds, like semi-tractors hauling trailers.
  • Class C covers vehicles that carry 16 or more passengers or hazardous materials.

Any vehicles matching those requirements needs must undergo an inspection before every trip.

Utah Requires Drivers to Pass a Pre-Trip Inspection Test to Obtain a CDL

Like other states, Utah tests whether a driver can perform a thorough pre-trip inspection as the first portion of its three-part CDL test.

The pre-trip inspection part requires the driver to inspect the same class of vehicle they plan to be licensed to drive. Each potential driver performs a full inspection on that type of vehicle in front of an examiner. Truckers must name each part inspected and verbally identify any leaks, wear, damage, missing equipment, or other issues to pass the test.

The examiner assesses the driver’s ability to determine and know whether the vehicle is safe to drive. If a driver passes the pre-trip inspection, the second and third parts of the Utah CDL test require the driver to demonstrate basic vehicle control knowledge and take a road test.

What Areas Must Drivers Inspect?

The Utah CDL pre-trip inspection list requires drivers to check five areas:

  • Engine compartment – The driver checks the engine compartment before starting the engine. The driver should look for leaks, inspect all hoses and belts, and review the oil and all other fluid levels.
  • Cab check and engine start – The driver must inspect the cab and start the engine. The inspection includes checking all the dashboard gauges, mirrors, windshield, steering, lights, lighting indicators, horn, heater and defroster, and safety belt. The driver must also check for required emergency equipment in the cab, including safety triangles, a fire extinguisher, and spare electrical fuses.
  • Brake check – A working air brake system is essential to prevent truck accidents. The driver tests the braking systems by driving the vehicle and ensuring the brakes stop and hold it. This includes testing the parking, hydraulic, and air brakes if the truck has them, including the brake pedals, checking the air pressure, and looking for any leaks.
  • External cab – Once back outside the cab, the driver must inspect the steering box, linkage, power steering hoses, suspension, brakes, wheels, doors, mirrors, fuel tank, battery and battery box, drive shaft, exhaust system, frame, splash guards, tractor coupling, air and electrical lines, catwalk, mounting bolts, locking jaws, fifth wheel skid plate platform, release arm, kingpin, and locking pins.
  • Trailer – Finally, the driver must inspect the trailer, including the air and electrical connections, header board, landing gear, doors, ties, lifts, frame, tandem release arm, locking pins, wheels, tires, suspension, brakes, and splash guards.

Ignoring the Pre-Trip Inspection Can Cause a Truck Accident

Unfortunately, some truck drivers and trucking companies regard the pre-trip inspection as a dreaded chore rather than a matter of public safety. According to one truck industry website, employers who are lax on their policies may not submit the required Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) for months or even years.

Failing to perform a thorough pre-trip inspection or ignoring problematic results can easily cause a truck accident. For example, a driver who skips over brake checks could experience catastrophic equipment failures mid-trip that could result in a devastating collision.

The nonprofit Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts a yearly Commercial Vehicle International Roadcheck across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Inspectors pulled more than 6,700 trucks and 2,080 drivers off the road for out-of-service violations in a recent year. The most common vehicle violations involved:

  • Brake systems
  • Tires
  • Lights
  • Braking adjustment
  • Cargo

In addition, drivers were placed out of service for non-vehicle violations such as ignoring hours-of-service requirements, the wrong type of licensure, falsified logs, and suspended licenses.

Why Pre-Trip Inspections Help Recover Compensation After an Accident

If you suffered injuries in a commercial truck accident, the pre-trip inspection — or the driver’s failure to perform one — may prove extremely important in your case. Many commercial drivers use written or electronic checklists. Drivers who work for large trucking companies or fleets must complete checklists in writing or using an app that records pre-trip inspection data about the vehicle.

The report may reveal the driver skipped areas, overlooked issues, or even noted but ignored problems that caused the accident. A skilled truck accident attorney can help you obtain, interpret, and use the pre-trip inspection report you need to win your case.

Who is Liable for Truck Inspection Violations?

Federal regulations specify that all motor carriers, their officers, drivers, agents, representatives, and employees directly involved with inspecting or maintaining commercial motor vehicles comply with the pre-trip inspection requirements. Regulations also require every motor carrier to have drivers prepare a daily written report of their inspections. This means negligent truck drivers, owners, and carrier operators could all be liable for truck accidents caused by a lack of inspection or failure to repair identified problems.

Contact a Utah Truck Accident Lawyer

There’s never an excuse for truck drivers or their employers to ignore inspection requirements. Let the attorneys at Swenson & Shelley hold them accountable if you or a loved one sustained injuries in a wreck. Our Utah truck accident attorneys will review the circumstances of your crash for free and push for the full and fair money you deserve. Call or contact us online now.