The Six Levels of DOT Inspections

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all commercial motor vehicles (CMV) with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,001 pounds undergo an inspection every year. A DOT inspection is conducted in order to make sure that all parts and accessories of the CMV are in good working order.  There are six levels of this safety analysis, which simply refers to the methods that will be employed during the assessment of a vehicle and the driver. They include:

1) Level I: North American Standard Inspection

This part of the check looks at important documents such as at the vehicle operator’s driver license, medical certificate and waiver and hours of service. The professional conducting the evaluation will also inspect the seat belt, exhaust system, turn signals, tail lamps, head lamps, steering wheel, wheels and rims and fuel system.

2) Level II: Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection

Level II inspections involve examining everything in the level I inspection with exception of the parts that involve the inspector getting under the CMV.

3) Level III: Driver-Only Inspection

During this check, the inspector will take an in-depth look at the vehicle operator’s driver’s license, medical certification and daily log.

4) Level IV: Special Inspection

These are one-time examinations that take a close look at a specific item. They are typically scheduled to invalidate a previous claim about a vehicle.

5) Level V: Vehicle-Only Inspection

Level V inspections look at everything specified under Level I. The only difference is that they are executed without the driver present.

6) Level VI: Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments

This inspection is used for certain radiological shipments. Select radiological shipments only comprise highway route controlled quantities set forth by DOT’s title 49 section 173.403.

PreTrip/PostTrip, lets go under the hood!!


The hood is held down by a latch on each side of the truck. They are located between the wheel well and the bottom corner of the door. Place your fingers under the latch and lift up. This will cause the latch to pop out of place. Pop both latches before lifting the hood.

Lift the Hood: Dos and Don’ts

When accessing the engine, lift the hood from the side. Never open the hood while standing in front of the truck. Opening the hood from the front is much more difficult and dangerous.

Opening the hood from the front means pulling all the hood’s weight toward you from its base. This makes the hood heavier, placing unnecessary strain on your back. To counterbalance the extra weight, drivers often put one or both feet on the front bumper while pulling on the hood. The bumper is not meant to hold weight. Standing or pushing on it can cause preventable damage to your bumper which means more time in the shop and less time on the road. Another reason to avoid pulling from the front is the hood connectors.  If you stand in front of the truck and the hood connectors break, the hood will fall on you. This may cause serious injuries.

Be safe. Stand to the side. To lift the hood from the side, put your hand under the wheel well and gently lift upward. The hood will do most of the work for you and smoothly fall into place.

Safety Inspection

Once the hood is open be-aware of any smells inside the engine compartment. Do you smell anything unusual: antifreeze, fuel, etc? Look for any fluid leaks. If you recently turned off the engine, do not touch anything inside the engine compartment. If you discover any weird smells, leaks, or if the hood connectors are broken, make a note of it on your pre-/post-trip inspection and continue with your inspection. Do not drive the truck if there is an issue with the engine compartment.

Closing Up

When the hood is open, the safety release locks into place. This prevents the wind from blowing the hood closed again. The safety release is in the engine compartment near the front of the cab. When your inspection is complete, push the release toward the engine to unlock it. This will allow you to close the hood again.

Pull the hood down the same way you put it up. From the side. It is not necessary to guide the hood all the way down. The hood is designed to smoothly fall back into place. Do not slam the hood. Once the hood is closed, walk around the truck to push the latches back down. Secure the hood before moving the truck.

Safety is important. After your pre-/post-trip inspection, if there is anything wrong with the truck, do one of the following.

  • Over the Road – Contact Road Assist. They will instruct you on what to do next.

  • In the Yard – Contact the Shop. They will instruct you on what to do next.

If your equipment needs repairs, do not move the truck until the repairs are completed.

Why We Started Our Own Truck School-My Story

First let me start off by saying besides starting a newspaper route when I was 9 years old selling the Aurora Sentinel, I haven’t started nothing else besides lots of trouble. So starting a Truck School from the ground up, leads to a word that we use often, TERRICITED, a cross between terrified and excited at the same time. Lately it’s been more terrified. Let me give you a brief narrative before I move into why I/we started the Truck School…

I spent years in customer service oriented jobs, some fulfilling, some not.  One of the coolest jobs I had was teaching a program for the Colorado State Patrol, called “Alive at 25”. A course designed for 15-25-year old’s that are either court ordered because they can’t pay attention to traffic laws, or someone that wants to get their learners permit. Nonetheless, it teaches safe driving techniques, distracted driving, the outcomes of bad decision making and so on. We got to share real stories of what happens when you make bad decisions behind the wheel, and share experiences of personal outcomes of my calls as a Sheriff Deputy responding to an accident because someone made a bad decision behind the wheel. And at the completion of the classes hoping you made a difference in someone’s life.

So, from there I got an opportunity to go to work for a up and coming Truck School, I was hired on to teach Defensive Driving, they sent me to Ok,TX,ND and Utah. I knew nothing about Big Rigs or a CDL, heck I didn’t even have a CDL until about 5 months ago and to this day I only have a CDL B so I can only drive straight trucks or bus’s. (no laughing). But for 6 years I watched and learned. I ended up running the business, all the day to day. I learned what to do, what not to do. I taught our people that they weren’t students, they were customers/real people, that had feelings. The old Truck School mentality had to go, as hard as it was to do, we did it. Every day at every shift change (every 2 hours) myself and staff would personally go outside rain or snow and greet the customers, shake hands, ask how they are. Thank them for coming. We built our name. There is nothing more fulfilling than a big hug when a customer graduates.

It’s my/our time now. We get to make a difference in the trucking world, share our experience’s. The good Lord gave us this chance, everything fell into place in this little bitty town 10 minutes from Denver where everyone says Hi and waves.

Michael Euglow
Commercial Vehicle Training Center

Types of a Commercial Driver’s License

Types of a Commercial Drivers License – CVTCDL.COM

Class A – combination vehicles – consists of any combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds

Class B – straight trucks and light combinations – consists of any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more or any such vehicle towing a vehicle which does not have a GVWR in excess of 10,000 pounds

Class C – single vehicles less than 26,001 GVWR – consists of any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that do not meet the definition of a Class A or B commercial vehicle, but that transports 16 or more passengers (including the driver) OR is placarded for transportation of hazardous materials

  Colorado Fee’s attached to your CDL

Commercial Driver License           $15.50

Instruction Permit                           $16.80

Duplicate License                            $9.00

Duplicate Permit                              $9.00

Subsequent Duplicate License      $16.00

Subsequent Duplicate Permit        $16.00

CDLs are valid for 4 years

CDL Pre Trip Videos (Part One)

The Pretrip Inspection is one of the tougher parts of passing the CDL exam at truck driving school because there is a lot of memorization involved. The purpose of the Pretrip Inspection is to be able to do a thorough safety inspection on a commercial vehicle before heading out onto the highway.

Check out our Pre Trip Form

How Do I Get a CDL in Colorado?

Welcome to the next step of your future! Get a CDL, Get a JOB!

#1 Get Your CDL Permit. To get started, you’ll first need to obtain a CDL Permit for $14 at your local DMV. …

#2 – Schedule Appointment. at

#3 – Take a course at

CDL General Information

You must have a valid CDL to operate:

  • Any commercial motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Any commercial vehicle that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver.
  • Any vehicle transporting hazardous material and is required to be placarded in accordance with 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart F.

What exactly do I need to obtain a CDL?  Call us at 303-222-4465

You will need:

  • Valid driver license from Colorado or another state or a commercial permit
  • Current DOT medical card – find a FMCSA Certified Medical Examiner in your area
  • Your Social Security number
  • Commercial drive skills test completion form
  • If you want to add a HAZMAT endorsement on your CDL, you will need to successfully pass the HAZMAT written exam and provide a current TSA background check every time you purchase a CDL.