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Trucking Laws in California

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 5:01 p.m.


Please read the information below to learn all about trucking laws in California. This way, you and your carrier can avoid receiving fines and penalties. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our organization. How do you get a principal California DOT number?

What Is Considered a Commercial Vehicle in California?

Commercial vehicles come in many shapes and sizes. From passenger vans to moving trucks, any vehicle used for transporting people or goods for compensation or profit can be classified as a commercial vehicle. This includes semi-trucks, trailers, delivery vehicles, mail trucks, construction equipment, and utility vehicles. Tanker trucks, cement mixers, garbage trucks - all of these are considered commercial vehicles, according to the California Department of Transportation. Do you plan on starting a trucking company?

The Basics of Truck Driver Qualifications in California

If you drive a commercial vehicle in California, it's essential to make sure you meet the legal requirements. For intrastate trips within California, motorists must be at least 18 years old. However, those wishing to travel between multiple states or transport hazardous materials must be 21 or older—additional information: New DOT Authority Package.

To drive a commercial vehicle in California, drivers must meet the age requirements and obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Obtaining a CDL starts with getting a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP), which must be held for at least 14 days. How To Request the DOT PIN Number?

You must first hold a valid California driver's license to obtain a CLP. Once that requirement is met, you can proceed with the application process, including completing an online form, taking a knowledge test, vision screening, and medical examination through the DMV. Additionally, you will need to pay a fee for the application, have your thumbprint scanned, and have your photograph taken. What is MC Number?

After having a CLP for at least two weeks, aspiring commercial drivers can apply for their California CDL. In most cases, they must take a skills test at the DMV office to receive it. However, individuals with prior military training may submit a form to waive the testing requirement, and drivers with valid CDLs from other states can transfer their license to get one in California. After passing the test or receiving the waiver, they will be issued their full CDL. What is the DOT SAP Program?

California Laws Related to Truck Driver Logs

Staying in compliance with FMCSA regulations is a must for truck drivers. That's why they must maintain and record logs of their activities along the route. This can include where and when they stopped; rest breaks are taken, and results from vehicle inspections. Paper logs used to be the norm, but now ELDs are mandated by the FMCSA as the preferred option for most truckers. Drivers need to ensure that their electronic logs are up-to-date to comply with all rules and regulations. Keeping accurate records of trips has never been easier! Find out more about Full Motor Carrier Authority.

ELDs are making roads safer for everyone by helping to keep truck drivers and their employers honest. Before introducing ELDs, truckers or their employers could tamper with paper logbooks to cover up dangerous driving habits. Nowadays, these driving patterns can be easily tracked via digital records, providing valuable evidence when investigating a negligence-related personal injury claim. Thanks to ELD technology, we can all travel with greater peace of mind, knowing that our roads are better monitored than ever before. Visit the DOT Authority Package, which contains tips to prepare for 2023 DOT Week filings in minutes. How to get an Oregon Trip And Fuel Permit?

What Are the Inspection Requirements in California?

It is essential for commercial vehicle operators to remain vigilant and regularly inspect their vehicles for any damages or worn parts. This practice helps minimize the chance of a semi-truck accident, which can be life-threatening. Both federal and California trucking laws require drivers to perform these inspections to ensure the safe operation of their vehicles, which are composed of thousands of parts. Early detection of mechanical issues reduces the risk of catastrophic roadway incidents. Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics.

Truck drivers should inspect their vehicles before, during, and after each trip to ensure everything is in working order. If any issues are found, they should be reported in writing and fixed before the driver gets back on the road. A copy of this report should be kept on file for up to 12 months—the importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule.

Drivers must ensure that all cargo is securely loaded before they begin their journey, and check again within the first 50 miles. From then on, they should make regular cargo inspections every 150 miles or three hours – whichever comes first. This helps to guarantee the safe transport of goods from point A to B. To protect both yourself and your load, be sure to adhere to these requirements. Doing so will help you stay compliant and keep everyone safe! Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy.

What Are the Size and Weight Limits for Trucks in California?

California has specific size and weight restrictions for commercial vehicles, with the exact limits depending on whether it is a combination vehicle and how its axles are arranged. Generally speaking, individual commercial vehicles should not be any longer than 40 feet long, while articulated buses and trolley coaches can reach up to 60 feet. Truck-trailer combinations must not exceed 65 feet long, although some exceptions apply. The maximum gross weight allowable on a single axle is 20,000 pounds or 20,500 pounds for buses. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

Hazardous Materials Regulations in California

If you're looking to transport hazardous materials in California, a special endorsement for your commercial driver's license is required. This means undergoing additional examinations and passing a background check conducted by the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Completing these steps requires furnishing proof of U.S. legal residence, registering fingerprints, and paying the applicable fees. You'll receive the necessary endorsement to transport hazardous cargo in California by completing these requirements. What is Unified Carrier Registration?

What Are the DUI Laws for Truck Drivers in California?

If you are a CDL holder, it is essential to be aware of the stricter DUI standard in California. The legal limit for those operating non-commercial vehicles is 0.08 percent BAC, while anyone driving a commercial car must maintain a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.04 or lower.

Violating this policy can have serious consequences—not only may you receive civil and criminal penalties, but your CDL will likely be revoked as well. Additionally, even if you were driving a passenger vehicle at the time, your license could still be suspended if found guilty of DUI. Read about Texas DOT Numbers and USDOT Numbers. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

What Are the State’s Hours-of-Service Laws?

Truckers in California must adhere to specific rest periods to ensure their safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. These regulations are known as "hours of service" rules and involve two sets of requirements that truckers must follow. Taking breaks at the right intervals prevents fatigue-related accidents and keeps our roads safe.

Truckers must adhere to the state's hours of service guidelines for intrastate trips in California. This includes not driving more than 12 hours after taking a ten-hour break and ceasing operations after 16 hours of work. Additionally, drivers cannot be on duty for more than 80 hours in any eight days. IFTA Sticker Registration steps.

Regarding interstate trips, drivers must take a rest break of at least 30 minutes after 8 consecutive hours on the job. This window of 14 hours starts as soon as they begin their shift, regardless of whether they are driving or not. Drivers can only be behind the wheel for 11 hours maximum during this period.

Depending on their work schedule, truckers may only be able to work up to 60 or 70 hours in any 7-day or 8-day workweek respectively. Drivers need to ensure that they get enough sleep and rest breaks between shifts to remain safe on the road. Check out The Basics of Farm Exemptions. You will then be able to maintain complete motor carrier authority or broker.

What Is California’s Safety Requirement for Alcohol & Drugs?

Drivers of vehicles that demand a commercial driver's license (class A, class B, or class C with hazardous materials endorsement) should take a Controlled Substances and Alcohol Testing (CSAT) program as required by federal regulations. Employers are responsible for ensuring that the testing covers pre-employment screening, post-accident assessment, random selection, and reasonable suspicion. What are the Top 3 DOT paper-appointedViolations?

California Commercial Truck Weight Limits

California state law dictates that trucks must not exceed 80,000 pounds in weight, with no more than 20,000 pounds per axle. This regulation serves a dual purpose of ensuring road safety and protecting infrastructure from damage. By restricting the weight of any single vehicle can carry, we can better maintain roadways and prevent potential disasters in weaker spots such as bridges and overpasses. Following these regulations allows us to travel safely and protect our highways for future generations. Visit BOC-3.

Ensuring the structural integrity of roads is essential, but the safety of vehicles on them must also be considered. To keep those behind the wheel safe, semi-trucks must adhere to weight restrictions set by their manufacturers. Heavy trucks such as these need longer stopping distances and are more difficult to control while going downhill. They are also less capable of quick maneuvering than cars are. Adhering to weight limits is essential for safeguarding both truck drivers and other motorists alike. Also, take a look at what IRP or Apportioned Registration is.

Are There Exceptions to California Weight Limits?

If a trucking company needs to transport something that exceeds California's weight limits, they can obtain a limited-use permit. These permits allow for oversize, heavy haul, and super loads. Depending on the size of the load, an escort car may be necessary. Oversized truckloads can only be driven during certain times of the day. So, next time you see an escorted "oversized load" on the highway, you'll know it has obtained the proper permitting to operate safely in California! You will need driver qualification files filed out by all employees who drive for you working.

Questions About Trucking Laws in California? Contact Our Organization

If you're looking for answers to your questions about trucking laws in California, look no further. Our organization is here to help. We've got the resources and experience to make sure you get all the information you need. So don't hesitate—reach out today and let us take care of it! Trust me, we won't let you down. The road ahead just got a whole lot easier!

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