When applying for a CDL or DMV license, you are required to achieve a DOT certification. Do you know what it is and how it impacts your CDL career? In this article, we are going to introduce the essential information about DOT and How can DOT affects CDL driver’s careers in order to give you a clear understanding and know how it works. Let’s move to the main part!


dot certification
How can DOT affect CDL driver’s careers?


1. What is DOT?

The US Department of Transportation is abbreviated as DOT. It is a government agency of the United States that manages public services in line with the law and on-road, rail, inland waterway, maritime, and aviation transportation across the country.


The purpose of DOT is to ensure that America’s highways and transportation systems are safe and accessible throughout the country. Typically, this is performed by ensuring that all CMV operators are lawfully prepared and equipped with the necessary licenses.


2. What are DOT types?


2.1. DOT Requirements

DOT requirements refer to a certain set of standards that must be met in order to get DOT certified. While each state has its own set of regulations, the following are shared by all states:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 21
  • Must own a valid driver’s license
  • Must have at least three years of driving experience.
  • Pass a DOT physical examination
  • Pass a drug test

For a more detailed list, consult your state’s specific requirements. In any event, in order to get DOT certified, you must fulfill all required standards.


2.2. DOT Number

A DOT number is a unique identifier assigned by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) to each trucking firm in the United States. This number enables easy access to and verification of a company’s security data. To establish if you need a DOT number or not, you must first assess whether the vehicle you’re driving is used to carry hazardous goods, has a GCWR of more than 10,001 pounds, transports more than 15 passengers, or is involved in interstate commerce. Check your state’s specific requirements to see whether you need a DOT number.


2.3. DOT Inspection

If you drive a commercial motor vehicle, you must obtain a DOT evaluation. It is normally performed by a certified expert employed by the US Department of Transportation. These reviews are carried out once a year. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure that the vehicle and its parts and accessories are in good condition, safe to use, and performing properly. To pass a DOT inspection, you must fulfill all of the standards outlined in the DOT review checklist. This checklist will be available through internet channels.


2.4. DOT Physical 

CMV drivers must be physically capable of operating a CMV safely. Taking and passing a DOT Physical test appears to have no negative consequences that would prevent you from safely operating a CMV. Every two years, CDL drivers must get a CDL DOT physical.


2.5. DOT Compliance

DOT compliance refers to adhering to the criteria and conditions established by the United States Department of Transportation. All CMV administrators are thoroughly vetted to ensure they are not exploiting any conditions since violations might result in legitimate results.


2.6. DOT Certification

Obtaining DOT certification only shows the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) that you have the necessary skills and ability to safely operate a CMV. It is necessary for you to complete a series of written and driving examinations in order to become DOT certified. You must also complete a DOT physical as well as a background check to ensure you have no prior violations or convictions.


>> Read more: How to obtain CDL DOT certification


dot physical
You must also complete a DOT physical as well as a background check


3. What are the features of DOT?

US DOT certification and EU EEC certification are two entirely distinct certification processes; the USA is a developed market, whilst Europe is a type of approval; DOT certification offers the following advantages over EU EEC certification:

  • The United States makes all of its standards, rules, and laws available for free.
  • It’s a certification program that you created yourself. Manufacturers assess if a product fulfills the criteria based on their stated rules.
  • The company is responsible for its data during the certification process, and the DOT does not monitor the full testing procedure.
  • Exit and entry: Annual compliance inspections are an effective way to validate a manufacturer’s self-produced certification.
  • Market oversight is highly stringent; relevant US authorities will perform yearly sampling checks on the market, and if it is determined to be unsuitable, the punishment is severe.
  • The Department of Transportation communicates with the manufacturers through the manufacturers’ agents in the United States.


4. How can DOT affects CDL drivers’ careers?


4.1. Time behind the wheel

According to the majority of truckers, the most onerous restriction in long-haul trucking is the number of hours a trucker may spend driving, which is one of the DOT driving laws that is regularly discussed on blogs, radio shows, and newspapers. A weary motorist is a hazardous driver, which is why the government has stringent restrictions regarding how long you may drive before you have to pull over and rest.

Although the requirements appear simple, crossing time zones may be tricky, thus most trucking firms will either monitor this remotely and communicate with you, or have a stringent internal policy that they’ll go over with you during training. The laws are rather complicated and subject to change with new legislation, but drivers are normally expected to take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving. There are also limitations on the number of hours they may drive in a single day before taking a longer break. Remember that a driver’s non-driving break might include time spent on duty but not driving, sleeping, or doing paperwork. What matters is that they are not driving.


how can dot effect cdl drivers careers
drivers are normally expected to take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving


4.2. Weighing and Maintenance

While this is a state-by-state requirement, most parts of the United States require truckers to weigh their rigs at each weigh station they pass. In this scenario, a truck or commercial vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds is subject to this restriction. Many non-drivers are intrigued about what happens at a weigh station. Aside from assessing the gross weight of the truck and trailer, the stations allow the US Department of Transportation to conduct a visual inspection of the rig. A check has six stages, beginning with a superficial visual inspection and progressing to a more detailed and technically advanced level six inspection. The determination of which degree of inspection is required will depend on the weigh station personnel at the time of the inspection.


Stopping at a weigh station, as experienced truck drivers will tell you, is nothing to be concerned about and will not create substantial delays. Many weigh station employees are former truckers who understand the reality of life on the road and the urgency of getting back on the road as soon as possible, therefore they work swiftly. As long as your documentation is in order, your vehicle is in excellent condition, and you follow the fuel restrictions, your weighing stop should be quick and straightforward.


>> Read more: CDL DOT Weigh Stations and All Essential Information You Should Know



In summary, that is all the information that you should know about how can DOT affects CDL driver’s careers when deciding to work as a CDL driver. We hope that this article provides you with the necessary knowledge and helps you achieve it successfully. Besides, if you want to find a website to practice CDL, start right here with CDL Practice Test, a helpful tool for CDL test-takers.