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DOT Week: 4 Things All Shippers Should Know

DOT Week: 4 Things All Shippers Should Know

DOT Week, DOT Blitz, CVSA International Road Check – No matter what you call it, it’s a large-scale commercial vehicle inspection lasting 3 days that impacts truckers and shippers across North America.

What is DOT Week?

Each May, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducts randomized inspections of commercial vehicles in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Over 72 hours, enforcement officials pull over and inspect an average of 15 vehicles per minute. The North American Standard Level 1 Inspection conducted includes 37 check points and evaluates factors involving truck health and driver compliance.

Multiple penalties can occur if a driver is found to be in violation of any safety standards:

  • Points will be recorded on their Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score. Too many points can result in increased insurance rates, limit the type of freight they move, and make it harder for them to get hired.
  • Fines can be issued, with some costing several thousand dollars based on the severity of the violation.
  • Serious safety infractions result in an Out of Service (OOS) order, meaning the driver, tractor, or trailing equipment is put out of service. When this happens, the driver is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle until the case is resolved. OOS Orders are also part of the driver’s public record, which can harm their reputation and chance of getting future loads.

Why does this matter for shippers?

Many drivers opt to cease operations during DOT week rather than risk a failed inspection. This results in lower capacity, which drives up spot rates. For drivers that do continue to operate, it is highly likely that they will experience delays in transit due to inspection.

Below are 4 tips for shipping during DOT Week with as little disruption as possible.

4 DOT Week Tips for Shippers

  1. Book Capacity in Advance
    If you know you will be shipping during DOT week, book your freight as early as possible. This ensures that you can secure transportation and lock in rates before capacity gets tighter.
  2. Expect Longer Transit Times
    In the same vein, it’s safe to assume that shipments will take longer during DOT week. With the standard inspection including 37 check points, drivers can be pulled over anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour depending on the condition of the tractor.

    Since the risk of delay is unavoidable, be sure to allow for some buffer around pickup and delivery times, especially for lanes longer than 500 miles. It’s also common for delays to continue for a week or two after the inspections cease while carriers catch up on their shipment backlog.
  3. Be Prepared for Higher Spot Rates
    Due to fewer drivers on the road and demand for capacity remaining consistent, spot rates can be expected to increase. To avoid paying inflated prices during DOT week, schedule your freight ahead of time to lock in lower rates or wait until after when possible. If you do plan to ship during this time, make sure to leave room in your budget to accommodate higher rates.
  4. Communicate with Your Transportation Providers
    While it’s always best practice, frequent communication is crucial during DOT Week. Regular check-ins ensure you stay updated on the status of your freight and any schedule changes. It’s also important for managing carrier relationships. Since the risk of delay is greatly increased, it’s important to discuss accessorial policies beforehand so you and the carrier are on the same page.

Don’t Fear DOT Week

Despite the slight disruption, DOT Week is easy to navigate when you have the right information. If possible, booking in advance is always the best way to minimize delays in your supply chain. If that is not possible, allowing for extra transport time means less stress and ensures your freight gets delivered safely.

Need to move freight during DOT Week? Trailer Bridge can ‘Make it Happen!’
Contact our logistics experts now to secure capacity in advance.

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