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It is imperative to maintain up-to-date documentation at all times, encompassing records for yourself as the driver, your truck and trailer, and, if applicable, your motor carrier. The repercussions of missing documentation are severe and can result in a slew of violations that could significantly harm your business and career.

Prior to dispatching any vehicles, ensure that both you and your drivers have the requisite paperwork readily accessible within the cab. This measure guarantees compliance with driver and vehicle inspections conducted by various authorities, which include:

  1. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): Responsible for overseeing and funding inspections.
  2. Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA): Develops inspection criteria and programs.
  3. State Troopers: Conduct on-site inspections.

Below is a list of documents that may be necessary based on your specific operation and the gross vehicle weight of your vehicles. This guideline is tailored for an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer. It is vital to review the specific requirements of each state to ensure full compliance before embarking on your journey. Additionally, confirm that all documentation and permits are current and valid.

Essential Documentation to Carry:

  1. State Driver’s License or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
  2. FMCSA Authority Letter
  3. Insurance Card: Must display effective and expiration dates of coverage.
  4. Title & Registration
  5. Medical Card
  6. Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)
  7. Intrastate Authority (if applicable)
  8. Base IFTA License & Decals
  9. Apportion Cab Card (for vehicles over 26,000 GVW)
  10. Daily Log
  11. IRS 2290 Heavy Highway Use Tax (for vehicles over 55,000 GVW)
  12. Safety Certificates
  13. Bill of Lading
  14. Lease Agreement
  15. EPA Emissions Certificate
  16. Hazmat Paperwork
  17. State Permits, including state-specific documents:
  • Connecticut Mileage Tax Permit (for vehicles over 26,000 GVW)
  • Kentucky Weight Distance Tax (KYU) Permit (for vehicles over 59,999 GVW)
  • New Mexico Mileage Tax Permit (for vehicles over 26,000 GVW)
  • New York HUT (for vehicles over 18,000 GVW)
  • Oregon License & Bond (for vehicles over 26,000 GVW)
  • Oversize/Overweight Permit (if applicable)

It is advisable to store all your documentation (except your CDL and medical card) in a three-ring binder for easy addition of new information and removal of expired certificates.

Furthermore, create duplicates of all documents, reserving the originals for your CDL, registration, and specific certificates. Keep the duplicates at your office or home. Consider photographing or scanning each document into a digital format accessible on the road in case your binder becomes damaged.

Lastly, consistently verify that none of your documents have expired, as this is the most common reason for inspection failures. Expiration dates may vary, making it easy to overlook one.

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