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DOT Regulations for Car Haulers

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Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 3:56 p.m.

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DOT Requirements For Hauling Trucks - Weight And Height Regulations for Car Haulers




Here are some of the most important DOT (US Department of Transportation) regulations for transport a car haulers:

  • Types of car haulers must adhere to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) standards for vehicles and drivers.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all car-wide range haulers to carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance coverage.
  • All vehicle operators must have valid CDL licenses issued by their state DMV and pass annual medical exams to maintain this license status.
  • Drivers should get restful sleep before hauling any vehicles, as DOT requires them not to exceed 11 hours behind the wheel in one day. During the workweek, total drive time cannot exceed 60 hours either.

Please continue reading to learn more about DOT and FMCSA regulations that affect US car haulers. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to
contact our organization.




What Are the Height and Weight DOT Regulations for Car Haulers?


The Department of Transportation, or DOT, has strict height and weight regulations that all car haulers must abide by. These regulations are necessary to ensure the safety of drivers and other motorists while on the road. That said, it's essential for car haulers to know precisely what these regulations entail.






The maximum width limit is 8.5 feet, the minimum clearance for a vehicle overhang is 4 inches, and the maximum overall length for a vehicle loaded onto a trailer is 50 feet. As far as weight goes, the total gross load cannot exceed 80,000 pounds, with no single axle carrying more than 20,000 pounds.


Do Car Haulers Need Insurance?




The carrier someone chooses for shipping a vehicle must have auto transport company insurance coverage. This ensures that the car is adequately protected in case of mishaps during shipping.



Car haulers need a variety of different insurance policies to protect their business. This includes commercial vehicle liability, cargo coverage, non-trucking liability, and physical damage insurance for the trailer and truck. Commercial vehicle liability protects against any property damage or bodily injury resulting from an accident while a driver is operating their rig on behalf of the car shipping companies.


Cargo coverage protects cargo while in transit; this can be especially important when transporting expensive items or luxury goods. Non-trucking liability covers accidents that occur while a driver is using his/her personal auto in connection with work but not carrying freight at the time of the incident. Finally, physical damage insurance covers repairs to the tractor and trailer in case of an accident or other damage.




How Many Cars Can Fit on a Hauler?




The average hauling truck for standard auto transport services can typically fit between 5 and 9 cars. However, this number may vary based on the size and weight of each vehicle – with a DOT-regulated overall weight capacity of 80,000 pounds. So, while there may be room for another car on the hauler, it will likely need to be transported separately.




Does a Car Hauler Need To Have a CDL?




If you’re looking to become a commercial driver, start by registering in the state where you reside. You'll need to pass a written permit test to prove
your knowledge, get a Commercial Driver Learner Permit, and hold it for a certain period before moving on to a physical driving test. Once these steps have been completed, you'll be ready to hit the road as an official commercial driver!


Depending on what kind of car shipping services hauling companies you're doing, a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) may not be necessary. CDLs are designed for drivers of heavy, oblong commercial vehicles, and certain trailers, such as two or three-car carrier wedges, can fit below the weight requirement rules set by CDL regulations. It's important to note that the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of your truck and trailer will provide the most accurate information about whether a CDL is required or not – so make sure you know these numbers before beginning your journey!


While CDLs come in many classifications, Car Haulers need not worry about any classes or endorsements outside of a Class A CDL. Class A is the heaviest class of CDL and, thus, the best fit for car shipping quotes haulers. Visit the DOT Authority Package, which contains tips to prepare for 2023 DOT Week filings in minutes.




What Is a Class A CDL?




If you want to haul a combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) that is 26,001 pounds or more, then you need to have a Class A CDL. That includes towed vehicles whose Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) exceeds 10,000 pounds. This license opens up the possibility for hauling cars in trailers as long as 50 feet and even up to seven or nine-car trailers. Get your Class A CDL today and hit the road!




Can I Secure a CDL Without Attending Truck Driving School?




If you've been looking into truck driving school, you might have noticed that it isn't cheap. A class here, a semester there — the cost can add up quickly and reach around $3,000. It's understandable to be concerned about affording the necessary training. Fortunately, there are various options available to help alleviate this financial burden.


In most states, you do not need to attend a trucking school or take the physical driving test to get your CDL permit. However, it's important to note that taking these tests without any prior knowledge is not advisable. Having some background information and practice can make you more prepared for the actual tests. It is highly recommended that you research and understand each test's content before attempting it. Doing so will improve your chances of success and help you maximize the value of your investment by passing both tests on the first try!




What Should I Do Before Taking My CDL Permit Test?




To apply for a CDL, you must get the necessary forms from your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This includes a valid federal Medical Examiner's Certificate Form (MEC) MCSA-5875 and an application form specific to your state. You may also need to study your state's Commercial Driver License Manual and take the written permit test at the DMV to be eligible for a CDL. With all these steps, you can start down the path toward becoming a commercial driver!




What Happens Once I Get a Permit?




Before you can get behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer combination, it's essential to determine what type of rig best fits your needs. Once you know, find a CDL trainer or an experienced car hauler who can mentor you as you prepare for your CDL test. During the required practice period in between earning your permit and taking the test, be sure to become acquainted with every function and button on your truck, tractor, and trailer – this knowledge will serve you well when driving on the road. With adequate preparation, you'll soon be ready to take the wheel and hit the open highway!




DOT Regulations Related to Personal Goods & Vehicle Weight




Per federal regulations, it's essential to stay within the allowable weight limit when loading cargo onto a transport vessel. The maximum amount of weight depends on the number of axles present. To determine the total weight of your load, simply add up the estimated weights of each vehicle being transported. Staying within legal limits can help ensure safe and successful journeys!


It's important to note that the weight of your vehicle is an estimate based on its make and model. This estimated figure considers the factory-standard importance of a given car and then adds around 100 lbs for extra items such as cargo, fuel, or passenger weight. Your vehicle won't be weighed before it's picked up - the estimated weight is there to give you a general idea.


Drivers must stop at designated weigh stations along their route to ensure that the weight of their vehicle and its cargo is within legal limits. If the driver is found to be in violation, they will incur penalties that could be passed on to you. To avoid unnecessary fees, it's essential to ensure your load meets all regulations before hitting the road.




Requirements About the Height of Vehicles




If you have a vehicle that is taller than 7 feet, it may require special transportation. Depending on the type of vehicle, it will need to be shipped to a designated carrier that can accommodate its height. Standard pages are not able to transport vehicles over this restriction. Therefore, please ensure that your vehicle meets these requirements before making transport arrangements.


We've seen too many transporters not paying attention to this rule. This can easily lead to delays in pickup and delivery, leaving drivers unhappy. Some companies take advantage of the situation by withholding deposits. To prevent these kinds of issues from happening, you should stay vigilant and keep an eye on your carrier's compliance with the rules.




Driver Hours & Transport Times




Regarding cross-country vehicle transportation, drivers are regulated by federal law to drive only a certain number of hours each day. This means that coast-to-coast transport typically takes approximately 7-10 days due to the legal requirements of interstate commerce. Fortunately, these regulations are in place to ensure vehicles' safe and timely delivery nationwide. You will need driver qualification files filed out by all employees who drive for you. Also, take a look at what IRP or Apportioned Registration is.




Key Points About Car Hauler Regulations of the DOT




Please remember the following car-hauling regulations as you register with the DOT. Remember, our organization can take care of all your DOT
registration needs. We encourage you to browse our website or give us a call to secure the compliance filings that you will need to haul cars.

  • Car haulers that operate across state lines need to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • FMCSA registration is necessary for a car hauler to obtain an operating authority.
  • The DOT requires drivers to get a USDOT number and fill out biennial updates to keep their licenses active.
  • Additionally, drivers must also obtain liability insurance to transport vehicles legally.
  • Operators of commercial vehicle fleets must comply with strict regulations from the FMCSA, including hours of customer service requirements and vehicle maintenance standards.
  • They must also ensure they follow all applicable laws in each state they enter while on duty.

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