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DOT Regulations for Garbage Trucks

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 4:59 p.m.

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DOT Regulations for Garbage Trucks, If Garbage Roll Off or Large Truck Garbage Packer Requirements




Here are some of the most essential DOT regulations for garbage trucks:

  • All garbage truck operators must be at least 21 years old and have a valid commercial driver’s license.
  • Drivers must maintain the vehicle in safe working condition, obeying all state and federal regulations regarding its operation.
  • The maximum speed limit for garbage trucks is 55 miles per hour on highways, but may vary depending on local regulations.
  • Garbage trucks are not allowed to travel over bridges or other structures unless they have been specially constructed as such.
  • Trucks must be equipped with appropriate equipment, including lights, brakes, and signal devices to ensure safety while operating.
  • Commercial waste haulers are required to follow specific rules related to the disposal of solid wastes, including proper labeling.










What Are Hours-of-Service Issues for Garbage Truck Drivers?




Waste and recycling haulers typically operate within the same state (intrastate) and may be unaware that hours-of-service rules still apply to them. While states can amend certain parts of the regulations, they are required to adopt federal laws to maintain consistency between all types of operations. This ensures that tired drivers are kept off the road, limiting how long and when a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver can drive.



Suppose a DOT inspector requests the past seven days of time logs during a roadside inspection. The driver explains that their company is a short-haul carrier and, therefore, retains those records at their business. In that case, the officer may not believe them. In this case, they can follow up with the company for verification. If a violation is issued for not having the last seven days in the truck, it can be challenged and removed.


Suppose a driver occasionally exceeds the 14-hour on-duty window while operating within the short-haul exemption (no more than eight days out of any 30-day period). In that case, creating a record of duty status for that day as soon as possible is essential. In the event of a DOT audit or request by an authorized representative from FHA or a State official, these records must be produced quickly—usually within two working days—at the location of the review.



What Are Common Vehicle Maintenance Issues for Garbage Trucks?





Road safety should always be a top priority for motor carriers. During the 2020 International Roadcheck, roadside inspections revealed that the most frequent violations were related to:


  • brake systems
  • tires
  • lights
  • brake adjustment
  • cargo securement




Maintaining vehicles properly is essential to ensure reliability and avoid potential issues; visual defects are often one of the first indicators inspectors use when selecting a car. As such, motor carriers must ensure their equipment is regularly serviced and all necessary repairs made promptly to comply with road regulations.



If a vehicle has been experiencing frequent maintenance issues, it is essential to record parts and repairs accurately. Unfortunately, some mechanics can overlook the importance of keeping suitable paperwork. For example, we once assisted a company whose Conditional rating had dropped due to not tracking bulk parts inventory correctly, thereby failing to demonstrate when they replaced something. Keeping vehicle maintenance records is essential for ensuring your fleet remains in top condition.



During the pre-trip inspection, it's easy to identify common violations that can be written up on a roadside inspection. Low tread depth and damaged sidewalls are some of the most visible signs. They generally don't occur after one trip. Drivers must understand what to look for and how the DOT evaluates these issues when determining whether or not there is a violation. Aside from just seeing the paperwork confirming that a maintenance issue was addressed, having the corresponding driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) noting the defect can also help provide evidence of compliance.





What Are Some Best Practices for Vehicle Maintenance?





Fleets must maintain their vehicles to stay operational and safe. To do this, it's essential to adhere to the best vehicle maintenance practices. First, fleets should inventory all their vehicles and maintenance needs to establish what regular preventive maintenance activities and parts are necessary. Second, they should create a preventative maintenance schedule according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Lastly, they should set up effective record-keeping methods and storage systems for all documentation related to vehicle maintenance. Following these steps will help ensure that fleets remain reliable and efficient.



What Are Common Cargo Securement and Weight Issues for Waste Haulers?





Cargo being transported on the highway must remain tightly secured, both on and within the transportation vehicle. This way, it does not spill, blow off, or become dislodged from the car. During international road check 2020, five of the top violations were related to cargo securement, including debris flying off rollback tow trucks and dump trucks picking up dumpsters. To prevent these costly violations, ensure your goods are firmly held in place before you hit the road.

Don't forget to secure demolished vehicles and overloaded dumpsters with cargo tarps. Tie-downs counteract the forces acting on the cargo, so make sure they're attached at an angle of less than 45° during your pre-trip inspection. Also, check that all securement equipment and vehicle structures are in good condition and that cargo is evenly distributed. Ensure your load is secured correctly for a safe ride!



What Are Common DQ Files Issues for Waste Haulers?





Driver qualification files are an area carriers often overlook when it comes to compliance with waste and recycling regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) places great importance on the driver hiring process as a key factor in establishing and preserving safe operations. Thus, every driver's personnel file must contain information about their prior employment, drug testing results, motor vehicle records, credit history, and more. Carriers need to ensure that all of this information is appropriately documented to remain compliant.


All drivers in the waste hauler industry must be aware that all Driver Qualification (DQ) file rules apply to them. Failing to meet these basic requirements can lead to:

  • hefty DOT fines
  • CSA violations
  • an unsatisfactory safety rating
  • out-of-service orders when audited



Make sure your driver qualification files are up-to-date and appropriately maintained in order to avoid any of these possible consequences.






Check Your Garbage Trucks Daily





Before heading out on their route, garbage truck drivers and companies should take the time to inspect their trucks for five to ten minutes. Doing so is essential in ensuring a safe trip and will bring peace of mind to insurance producers confident that clients adhere to DOT regulations. Taking these few moments of precaution could make all the difference in avoiding potential risks.



Before hitting the road, drivers need to check their trucks. Give your vehicle a thorough look-over, and make sure to jot down any damages or issues that need repair. Ensure that all lights and electronics function properly so you stay visible while driving. Start up the engine and inspect linkages as it warms up; then, top off fluids if necessary. Don't forget to check tires, hydraulics, and other components too! With these steps in place, you can ensure your work is as safe and smooth as possible.


Key Points: DOT Regulations for Garbage Truck Drivers





Here are some crucial DOT regulations that every garbage truck driver in the country must know. If you need help filing DOT regulation paperwork, do not hesitate to contact our organization.

  • Drivers must maintain a valid commercial driver's license and any other licenses or permits required by the state in which they are operating and comply with applicable federal and state laws related to driving.
  • Drivers must inspect their vehicles before each shift, including checking the brakes, lights, mirrors, and windshield wipers for proper operation.
  • Drivers must be knowledgeable about load securement methods for ensuring safety during transport.
  • To operate a garbage truck, drivers must complete all necessary training courses, including those related to safe driving practices and environmental protection awareness.
  • Drivers should be aware of local noise ordinances.

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