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Federal Trucking Regulations

Federal Trucking Regulations

9 CFR 350: Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program

The primary motivation of this part is to ensure that the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), individual states, and
other political jurisdictions unify to develop and implement programs
that will ultimately improve motor carrier, CMV, and driver safety and
establish a safer and more efficient transportation system.

49 CFR 382: Controlled Substances and
Alcohol Use and Testing

The function of 49 CFR 382 is to establish programs within trucking
companies designed to prevent accidents and injuries resulting from
impairment due to the use of alcohol or drugs by drivers of commercial
motor vehicles. This part applies to all who drive a commercial motor
vehicle in the United States and their employers including any employer
who employs himself as a driver. There are a few exceptions, however.
For example, some states have to waive from the requirements of part 382
for certain individuals including active duty personnel, members of the
reserves, and members of the national guard on active duty. This part
is subject to the CDL requirements of part 383, the federal requirements
in Mexico and Canada.

49 CFR 382 also states that all employers of commercial motor vehicle
drivers have to be certain that all alcohol or drug testing complies
with the procedures indicated in part 40 of this title.

Drivers required to have a commercial driver’s license under part 383
must be tested if they drive a vehicle:

  • weighing more than 26,000 pounds including a towed unit weighing
    more than 10,000 pounds,
  • with a gross vehicle rating of more than 26,000 pounds,
  • designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, or
  • used to transport hazardous materials requiring the vehicle to be

49 CFR §382.107: DEFINITIONS

One notable part of 49 CFR §382.107 is the definition of
safety-sensitive functions. A safety-sensitive function is being
performed when:

  • any activity a driver is involved in while waiting to be dispatched,
  • a driver is servicing his vehicle or performing an inspection,
  • a driver is actually driving his vehicle,
  • a driver is in any way involved with loading or unloading the
    vehicle, or
  • a driver is repairing a vehicle or waiting by it for assistance.

The regulations in this part specify that alcohol or drugs must not
be used while performing safety-sensitive functions. Alcohol must not be
consumed within 4 hours of performing a safety-sensitive function.

49 CFR §382.201-382.211: PROHIBITED CONDUCT

A driver will no longer be allowed to operate a commercial motor
vehicle if he engages in prohibited conduct. Prohibited conduct

  • reporting for duty if he has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02
    or greater,
  • possessing alcohol unless it is part of a shipment, including
    medications like cough syrup or cold medicine that contain alcohol,
  • consuming alcohol while performing safety-sensitive functions,
  • consuming alcohol within 8 hours proceeding an accident or until
    after being tested,
  • reporting for duty while using any drug that affects his ability to
    safely operate a motor vehicle, or
  • refusing to submit to any DOT mandated alcohol or drug test. Testing
    methods include breath and saliva testing, blood testing, and urine

Although background checks involving a driver’s history of drug and
alcohol use can only be obtained with the signature of the driver, any
employer can make signing that authorization a condition of employment.

49 CFR §382.301-382.309: WHEN DRIVERS MUST BE TESTED

If a driver refuses to take a required drug or alcohol test he will
be disciplined as if he tested positive. Commercial drivers must be
tested before they are employed, although there are a few exceptions to
this. Drivers may also be tested at random, as all employers are
required to have a random selection program to test drivers for signs of
drug and alcohol use. After an accident that produces a fatality, a
driver is the recipient of a moving violation in a DOT-recordable
accident, or there is reasonable suspicion to believe a driver may be
under the influence of drugs or alcohol, testing may be required. An
accident is DOT-recordable if an injured person requires immediate
medical treatment away from the scene or if any vehicles involved have
to be towed. If it is confirmed that a driver has a blood alcohol
concentration of 0.04 or greater he must be evaluated by a substance
abuse professional and take another test with a result below .02 in
order to return to work, and could be subject to follow-up testing for
up to five years. If a test is required but for some reason not
administered, the employer has to make a record of why the test was not
properly administered.


As a condition of employment, a driver is required to provide any new
company he works for with a written authorization for all employers
within the previous two years to release all drug and alcohol testing
records. Within 14 days of performing a safety-sensitive function, DOT
regulations require that the driver’s company obtain drug and alcohol
testing records from the driver’s previous employers for up to two years
in order to verify that no prior employer of the driver holds records
indicating a violation of any DOT rule pertaining to drug or alcohol

If a driver tests positive for being under the influence of drugs or
alcohol he has the option of requesting a medical review officer to have
half of the sample tested by a different certified lab than the one
that tested the primary specimen. This is typically done within 72 hours
of a driver being notified of a positive test result.

49 CFR 383: Commercial Driver’s License
Standards; Requirements and Penalties

The function 49 CFR 383 is to reduce or prevent truck and bus
accidents the resulting injuries and deaths by requiring drivers of
certain vehicles to obtain a single commercial motor vehicle driver’s
license and by disqualifying drivers who operate commercial motor
vehicles in an unsafe manner.

With a few exceptions, drivers must have a CDL if they:

  • drive a vehicle of more than 26,000 pounds
  • transport themselves and 15 or more passengers, or
  • transport hazardous materials.


The driver of any commercial motor vehicle can only have one license
issued by the state where he lives-a CDL (commercial driver’s license).


If a driver is convicted of any motor vehicle violation besides a
parking violation he must inform both his employer and the state that
issued his CDL in writing within 30 days of the conviction. He must also
inform his employer in writing of a suspended or revoked license before
the end of the first business day post-conviction.


During the application process for any employment involving the use
of a CDL the potential driver is required to produce his employment
history for the prior 10 years he operated a commercial vehicle.


If a CDL is to be issued to an individual he must pass a knowledge
and driving skills test in a motor vehicle comparable to the type of
vehicle he will be driving. He must also certify that he has no
suspensions, disqualifications, or licenses from other states.


The various types of commercial motor vehicles are divided into three
groups: combination vehicles, heavy straight vehicles, and small
vehicles. Combination vehicles have a combined weight of more than
26,000 pounds if the weight of the vehicle being towed is more than
10,000 pounds. Heavy straight vehicles include any single vehicle
weighing more than 26,000 pounds or a vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds
towing a vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds or less. Small vehicles are any
single vehicle or combination of vehicles that do not fall into the
other groups but are used to either transport a placarded amount of
material or transport 16 or more passengers including the driver.

There are some endorsements that are required on a license. Each
endorsement requires both a knowledge and behind-the-wheel test if, for
example, a driver will be driving a vehicle equipped with air brakes.


All drivers must be well-versed in the various procedures that ensure
safe vehicle operation and be informed of the ill effects of being
fatigued while driving, having poor vision, using alcohol and drugs, and
improperly using the lights, horn, mirrors, and other emergency
equipment. Drivers must have knowledge of all driver-related elements of
the regulations contained in parts 391, 392, 393, 395, 396 and 397.

Drivers must also have a basic grasp of all factors involved in
actually driving the vehicle-shifting, backing, space management,
etc.-and are required to demonstrate both driving and inspection skills
for whatever type of vehicle they intend to operate.


All tests within the state must be standardized, and those
administering the tests must first be trained to do so. States must have
available manuals lending information including the procedures,
requirements, and skills needed to obtain and CDL, and information on
the actual test.

here to view the text of 49 CFR 383 in its entirety.


49 CFR 391: Qualifications of Drivers

Compliance with the following regulations is required if a driver
operates a tractor-trailer or other commercial motor vehicle that weighs
more than 10,000 pounds, carries 16 or more passengers, or transports
an amount of hazardous materials that requires the vehicle to be

In 49 CFR 391 the minimum qualifications for drivers of commercial
motor vehicles are established. The minimum duties of motor carriers
with respect to the qualifications of their drivers are also

Truck drivers for commercial motor carriers must be 21 years old,
speak English, be physically able to safely operate a truck, have a
valid CDL, and must not have ever been disqualified for driving while
intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs, committing a felony,
leaving the scene of an accident, refusing to take an alcohol test, or
any other reason. The driver and the truck company must keep records of
the driver’s violations. The truck driver must also have a physical exam
every 2 years and should not have diabetes requiring insulin, high
blood pressure, poor vision, poor hearing, current diagnosis of being an
alcoholic, or use dangerous substances including some over-the-counter
and prescription medication. The specifics of when a person’s medical
condition prohibit him from driving are complicated and dependant upon a
doctor’s examination.


A driver can be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle
if he drives with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, drives
under the influence of drugs, commits a felony involving a commercial
motor vehicle, leaves the scene of an accident while driving a
commercial motor vehicle, transports, possesses, or unlawfully uses
drugs, refuses to undergo alcohol testing, or fails to notify his
employer of a suspended, revoked, or withdrawn permit or privilege to
operate a commercial motor vehicle before the end of the business day


When an individual applies for a job involving the operation of a
commercial motor vehicle, the application must contain the following

  • employer name and address,
  • driver’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number,
  • driver’s previous addresses for the past three years,
  • date of the application,
  • state, number, and expiration date of driver’s license,
  • list of all motor vehicle accidents and violations for the last
    three years,
  • any driver’s license suspensions or revocations,
  • list of all employers for the last three years
  • any driver’s license suspensions or revocations,
  • list of all past employers for the last three years, or an
    additional seven years if the motor vehicle the driver will operate
    weighs 26,001 pounds or more, will carry more than 15 passengers, or
    will carry an amount of hazardous materials that requires the vehicle to
    be placarded, and
  • driver’s permission to contact previous employers.


Every year employers are required to review a driver’s driving record
to determine whether or not the driver meets the minimum requirements
for safe driving. The employers must consider all violations, including
but not limited to reckless driving, operating under the influence of
drugs or alcohol, and showing a blatant disregard for public safety.

Employers are required to check a driver’s record for the past three
years and the responses of each state agency. The employer must also
check and record in writing the driver’s previous employment record for
the last 3 years.


Every 12 months a driver must fill out a form listing any violations
of which he has been convicted. Even if no violations have occurred, the
driver still must complete the form and indicate as much. A driver must
inform his employer within 30 days of any violation or conviction.

49 CFR §391.31: ROAD TEST

All drivers must pass a road test while driving the same type of
motor vehicle they will be driving under their employment. The road test
must include a pre-trip inspection, coupling and uncoupling (if
applicable), driving the vehicle using the controls and emergency
equipment, passing other vehicles, turning, braking, and slowing by
means other than braking, backing, and parking.

It is acceptable for an employer to require a road test even if the
driver produces a valid driver’s license or certificate issued by
another carrier within the last three years. However, this doesn’t apply
if the driver will be operating a commercial vehicle that requires a
doubles/triples endorsement or a cargo tanker.


In order to drive a commercial motor vehicle a driver must have a
physical exam every 24 months and carry a card documenting the exam at
all times. If a driver has lost a limb or digit and its absence
interferes with his ability to drive, has diabetes controlled by
insulin, has heart disease, breathing problems, high blood pressure or
any sickness which might interfere with driving, has mental problems,
poor vision, poor hearing, a drug problem or a current clinical
diagnosis of alcoholism he is prohibited from driving a commercial motor


An employer must keep a driver’s qualification files throughout the
entirety of the driver’s employment and an extra 3 years. This is with
the exception of materials that need to be reviewed and updated. There
are limited exemptions for drivers who were regularly employed before
January 1, 1971 under 391.61.


If a driver is used by multiple carriers in a period of 7 consecutive
days he is referred to as an intermittent, casual, or occasional
driver. Such a driver’s must keep his medical certificate, road test,
driver’s name and social security number and identification number in
his driver qualification file. This information must be kept by the
motor carrier for 3 years after the end of the driver’s employment.

A driver regularly employed by one motor carrier may be used by
another carrier without following the driver qualification file
requirements if he has a signed and dated certificate that displays his
name and signature and indicates regular employment and driver
qualification. It must also have the expiration date of both his medical
exam and the certificate itself on it, and the driver must assume
responsibility for the accuracy of the certificate. There are a few
exceptions under §393.67 for drivers who operate farm equipment.

49 CFR 392: Driving of Commercial Motor

In order to operate a tractor-trailer, straight truck, tanker, and
other commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate travel, the truck
driver, his company, and all others responsible for the management,
maintenance, operation, or driving of commercial motor vehicles or the
hiring, supervision, training, assigning or dispatching of drivers must
follow federal regulations. A driver must not drive while ill or
fatigued. The driver may not use drugs illegally, but may take
medication under the advice of a doctor if it doesn’t affect his ability
to drive. Drivers must obey the speed limit, load cargo safely and
perform periodic inspections, must drive with extreme caution in
hazardous situations, use seat belts, and warn the public when a truck
is stopped on the shoulder of the road. Drivers must also be able to
stop before reaching a railroad track, and must stop when carrying a
trailer or hazardous materials. Drivers must not shift when crossing


If a driver is ill or fatigued to a degree that it may cause him to
be a danger to others on the road he must not drive. If the driver is
already on the road when he realizes this he may continue to drive to
the nearest safe place.


A driver may take prescribed medication if it doesn’t have side
effects that might result in unsafe driving, but may not take any drugs
that might render him unable to safely operate a commercial motor


Drivers are prohibited from drinking, possessing, or being under the
influence of alcohol while on duty, and are prohibited from drinking or
being under the influence of alcohol within 4 hours of going on duty. In
the event that a driver has used alcohol within 4 hours of going on
duty, his employer must neither require nor permit him to drive, and the
driver must immediately be placed out-of-service for 24 hours. Also,
the driver must report the incident to the state where he holds a
driver’s license within 30 days.


Drivers may not speed in order to keep a schedule.


Before operating a vehicle, drivers are responsible for ensuring that
all brakes, the steering mechanism, the lights and reflectors, tires,
horn, windshield wipers, mirrors, coupling devices, and all emergency
equipment are in good working order.


At the beginning of a trip, after the initial 25 miles traveled, and,
depending on which comes first, every 3 hours or 150 miles of each
change of duty status cargo must be inspected to make sure it is
properly distributed and secured.

Bus drivers need to be sure all passengers are behind the standee
line, and that baggage is stored and secured in a safe manner that
prevents any restriction of movement by both the driver and passengers.

The rules in this section don’t apply if the cargo is sealed,
impractical to inspect, or if the driver was ordered not to inspect it.


Drivers requiring a hearing aid to pass a physical must wear it at
all times while driving and carry a spare battery with them.

49 CFR §392.10-§392.11: DRIVING OF VEHICLES

When approaching railroad crossings, all commercial motor vehicles
must slow down enough so that if they had to they could stop before
reaching the first rail. Certain railroad crossings are exempt.

Commercial motor vehicles carrying hazardous materials or with tank
trailers must come to a full stop before the tracks at railroad
crossings, and may not shift while driving over tracks.


When operating in hazardous conditions like snow, fog, sleet, mist,
rain, dust, or smoke drivers are to use extreme caution, and drive to
the nearest safe place and only resume driving when the hazardous
conditions clear.


If the vehicle is equipped with seat belts, drivers are required to
wear them.


Hazard warning lights must be on and warning devices placed in the
appropriate locations within 10 minutes if a commercial motor vehicle is
stopped on any part of the highway. A warning device should be placed
on the traffic side about 10 feet from the vehicle in the direction of
approaching traffic; another should be placed about 100 feet from the
vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic in the center of the
traffic lane or shoulder where the vehicle is stopped, and another
should be placed beside the one about 100 feet from the vehicle, but in
the direction facing away from approaching traffic. If the vehicle is
stopped within 500 feet of a curve, hill, or anything else that might
obstruct a driver’s view, a warning device should also be placed in the
direction of the obstruction about 100-500 feet from the vehicle. In the
event that the vehicle is stopped on the travel portion of the shoulder
of a divided or one way highway, one warning device should be placed at
a distance of 200 feet and another at a distance of 100 feet in the
direction toward approaching traffic in the center of the lane or
shoulder occupied by the vehicle. An additional warning device should be
placed within 10 feet of the rear of the vehicle on the traffic side.


No lamps or reflectors should be covered by any part of the load, and
all should be clean.


When fueling, drivers must turn off the engine and must not smoke.
They are forbidden from carrying extra fuel in gas cans. Buses can’t put
fuel in their vehicle in a closed building or with passengers aboard.

49 CFR §392.60-§392.71: PROHIITED PRACTICES

Commercial motor vehicle drivers are restricted from using radar
detectors or open flames for any reason while in motion. Drivers cannot
drive if they’ve been affected by carbon monoxide poisoning, and they
cannot transport anyone apart from fellow employees, accident victims,
or livestock attendants without the written permission of their
employer. Drivers also cannot allow anyone else to ride in their trailer
unless there is an accessible exit from the inside.

here to read the text of 49 CFR 392 in its entirety.


49 CFR 393: Parts and Accessories
Necessary for Safe Operation

The primary concern of this section of the federal regulations is to
ensure that no employer or employee of a commercial motor vehicle
company drives a vehicle or causes or permits one to be driven unless
the motor vehicle is in accordance with the with the requirements and
specifications of this part. According to 49 CFR 393.3, additional
equipment and accessories may be used as long as they don’t decrease the
safety and operation of the vehicles on which they are used.


To view a table demonstrating some examples of required lighting…

49 CFR §393.40: BRAKES

Trucks, buses, tractor-trailers, and combination vehicles must have a
service break system that applies and releases the brakes when the
brake pedal is used during normal driving; a parking brake system that
applies and releases the parking brakes when the parking brake control
is used, and an emergency brake system that uses parts of the service
and parking brake systems to stop the vehicle if there is a brake system
failure. Refer to 49 CFR 393.41-393.52 for parts and specific
application of brake systems.


Vehicle brake performance table. Refer to 49 CFR 393.52 for testing

49 CFR §393.75: TIRES

Any commercial motor vehicle wearing a tire that has exposed material
through the tread or sidewall, has tread or sidewall separation, is
flat or has an audible leak, or has less than 2/32 tread depth (except
for front tires which must have 4/32 tread depth) must not be driven.
Buses must not be driven if their front tires have been regrooved,
recapped, or retreaded.


All buses, trucks, tractor-trailers, and combination vehicles must
carry a fire extinguisher, at least one spare fuse for each kind unless
they are the reset type, and either three liquid-burning emergency
flares, three emergency reflectors, or three emergency triangles.
However, any commercial motor vehicle used for the transportation of
flammable liquids, compressed gas, or Class A or B explosives isn’t
allowed to carry flame producing devices even if the trailer is empty.


When transporting cargo, all trucks, tractors, tractor-trailers,
combination vehicles, full trailers and pole trailers must be loaded and
equipped to prevent it from shifting or falling.


This part of the federal regulations requires various securement
systems to meet particular standards of strength. For example, tiedown
assemblies must have the total static breaking strength of the tiedown
assemblies used to secure any article against movement in any direction
and must be at least ½ times the weight of the article. For load binders
and hardware, the strength and hardware must be equal to or greater
than the minimum specified for the tiedown assembly. A hook, bolt, weld,
or other tiedown assembly of the vehicle and the mounting place and the
means of mounting the connector must be at least as strong as the
tiedown assembly when that connector is loaded in any direction where
the tiedown assembly may load it. The anchorages of winches or other
fasteners mounted to a vehicle must have a combined tensile strength
equal to or greater than the strength of the tiedown assembly. It is
imperative that all of these devices are designed, constructed and
maintained so that the driver is able to tighten them in transit.


All cargo must be protected from both lateral and longitudinal
movement. It must either be securely blocked or braced against the
sides, sideboards, or stakes of the vehicle if it is not already secured
by devices that meet the requirements in 49 CFR §393.100 to protect it
from lateral movement; for protection against longitudinal movement,
cargo must be secured so that when the vehicle decelerates at the rate
of 20 feet per second the cargo will remain on the vehicle and will not
penetrate the vehicle’s front-end structure.


With the exception of a few vehicles manufactured before the January
of 1974, all commercial motor vehicles carrying cargo must have a
headboard to prevent load shifting, penetration, or the crushing of the
driver’s compartment.

49 CFR §393.201: FRAMES

The frames on buses, trucks, and tractor-trailers cannot be cracked,
loose, sagging, broken, or have loose, broken, or missing bolts or
brackets securing the cab or body of the vehicle to the frame. They
cannot have frame rail flanges between the axles that are bent, cut or
notched, or holes drilled in the top or bottom rail flanges (except as
specified by the manufacturer.)

49 CFR §393.203

The doors on all commercial motor vehicles must not be missing,
broken, or sag to a degree that they cannot be opened or closed
properly. Bolts and brackets securing the cab shouldn’t be loose, broken
or missing, and the hood and seats should all be secured. The front
bumper should not be loose or protruding.

49 CFR §393.205: WHEELS

The wheels on all commercial motor vehicles including the axles, leaf
springs, coil springs and torsion bars must not be cracked, broken,
loose, or out of position. The air suspension must be level with minimal


The steering on all commercial motor vehicles must be secured and
without cracked or missing spokes, and the steering column itself must
be securely fastened. The steering gear box shouldn’t have any cracks or
loose or missing mounting bolts. The pitman arm on the steering gear
output must not be loose, and the steering wheel should turn freely
through the limit of travel in both directions. The power steering must
be in operational condition without loose or broken parts-belts
shouldn’t be frayed, cracks, or slipping and the system should have
enough fluid and shouldn’t leak.

49 CFR 395: Hours of Service of Drivers

The regulations in this part apply to all drivers of commercial motor
vehicles and motor carriers. However, there are a few notable
exceptions stated under 49 CFR 395.1 including drivers operating
vehicles that carry more than 15 people, weigh more than 10,000 pounds,
or transport an amount of hazardous material that requires placards.

From the time a driver begins to work extending until the driver is
relieved from all responsibility for being involved with the work is
known as “on-duty” time. On-duty time includes:

  • all time spent at a loading or unloading facility, terminal, or on
    any public or private property waiting to be dispatched,
  • all time involving the inspection process,
  • driving time,
  • all other non-driving time (except time spent resting in the
    sleeper) spent in a commercial vehicle,
  • all time repairing the vehicle or obtaining assistance to repair the
  • miscellaneous time spent such as travel time for taking a drug and
    alcohol test,
  • time performing any work in the service or employment of a common or
    private motor carrier, and
  • all time spent performing any compensated work for any non-motor
    carrier business.


If a driver on a run is confronted by hazardous weather conditions
such as rain, snow, fog, or any one of other unusual road and traffic
conditions the driver can drive up to 2 hours longer than the
regulations allow only if he normally could have completed the run in no
longer than 10 hours of driving, and provided that dispatch was unaware
of the adverse driving conditions at the time of dispatch. However,
drivers are prohibited from driving more than 12 hours after 8
consecutive hours off, or if the driver has been on duty for 15 hours
following 8 consecutive hours off. If emergency condition occurs, a
driver is allowed to finish his run without being in violation of this
regulation if the run could have been completed in a reasonable amount
of time sans the emergency condition.

100 air-mile radius drivers are not required to fill out a log if
they drive within a 100 air-mile radius of the place where they report
to work, return to the place they reported for work within 12
consecutive hours, have had 8 consecutive hours off duty in between each
12 hours on duty, if they don’t drive more than 10 hours following 8
hours off duty, and if their employer keeps time records for 6 months
showing the time the driver reports for duty and the time he is
released, the total of hours on duty from day to day, and the total time
on duty for the past 7 days if the driver is used for the first time or
intermittently. There are a few special provisions under these rules
for the deliveries of driver-salespeople, oil field operations and
retail stores.

Drivers may use their sleeper berths to accumulate the required 8
consecutive hours off-duty time, and may use two separate time periods
that total 8 hours. Neither period may be less than 2 hours.

Under §395.1 there are special duty status provisions for drivers
from Alaska and Hawaii, drivers of agricultural operations, ground water
well drilling operations, drivers who transport constructions materials
and equipment, and utility service vehicles.


A driver is forbidden to drive more than 10 hours following 8
straight hours off duty or for any period after having been on duty 15
hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty. A motor carrier cannot
require or even permit a driver, regardless of the number of motor
carriers using the driver’s services, to drive for any period after
having been on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if the employing
motor carrier doesn’t operate during the week. A driver is also
prohibited from driving if he has been on duty 70 hours in any period of
8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates motor
vehicles every day of the week.


This segment of the federal regulations states that a driver must
either submit or forward by mail the original driver’s record of duty
status to the regular employing motor carrier within 13 days following
the completion of the form, and must retain a copy of each record of
duty status for the previous 7 consecutive days and keep them available
in his possession for inspection while on duty.


Each motor carrier is required to maintain their records of duty
status and all supporting documents for 6 months.

View an example of how a driver would log a journey.


A driver will be considered “out of service” if he has neglected to
keep up his duty status. An “out of service” driver is prohibited from
operating a commercial motor vehicle until he has had 8 consecutive
hours off duty. A copy documenting this must be sent to the employer
within 15 days.


A driver must have records of duty status for the previous seven days
at all times. This part of the federal regulations indicates that it is
permissible for drivers of commercial motor vehicles to use on-board
recording devices in place of a log book, but the information must be
retrievable and instructions on the recording system must be kept inside
of the vehicle. In the event that the recording device isn’t working
for some reason the record of duty status for the current day and any of
the past 7 days that the driver is missing records for must be
handwritten until the recording device is once again in working order.

49 CFR 396: Inspection, Repair, and

The driver of a commercial motor vehicle that carries more than 15
people, weighs over 10,000 pounds, or transports enough hazardous
materials to require a placard, as well as all motor carriers, their
officers, agents, representatives, and employees directly concerned with
the inspection or maintenance of the motor vehicles are required to
follow this part of the federal regulations.


If a motor vehicle is in poor condition and likely to breakdown or
cause an accident, a driver is forbidden to operate it.


If a vehicle has been placed out of service a driver must not drive
it until all of the needed repairs are completed.


All drivers of commercial motor vehicles must inspect their vehicle
at the beginning and end of each day, and report any defects. The next
driver of the vehicle is required to review the prior driver’s post-trip
inspection report, and if the report shows anything likely to affect
the safety of the vehicle, the driver must sign the report indicating
that the employer certified the problems were fixed. If the employer has
not certified this, the driver must not sign the report. At the end of
each day of work when drivers complete and sign a written vehicle
inspection report on each vehicle they operated on that particular day
they must be sure to document their inspection of all brakes, the
steering mechanism, all lighting devices and reflectors, tires, the
horn, the windshield wipers, rear vision mirrors, coupling devices,
wheels and rims, and all emergency equipment.


When the driver inspects his motor vehicle he must carefully review
the last driver’s vehicle inspection report. If any defects on the
vehicle were observed, the driver must sign the report only if the
problems were corrected. A driver must always be completely confident
that the motor vehicle he has inspected is in safe operating condition.

49 CFR 397: Transportation of Hazardous
Materials; Driving and Parking Rules

This part of the federal regulations applies to all drivers of
commercial motor vehicles transporting hazardous materials that must be
marked or placarded in accordance with §177.823 of this title, to all
motor carriers who are involved with the transportation of hazardous
materials, and to each employee of the motor carrier who performs
supervisory duties related to the transportation of hazardous materials.
All concerned must know and obey these regulations. If the hazardous
materials must be marked or placarded, the driver of these materials
must follow the regulations found in parts 390-397.


If the driver of a commercial motor vehicle is hauling explosives he
cannot leave his vehicle unattended unless it is parked on either
company property, the shipper or receiver’s property, a safe haven*, or,
if the truck is loaded with less than 50 pounds of explosives, it can
remain on a survey or construction site. A driver must be certain that
the recipient of the explosives knows what they are and what to do in
the event of an emergency. If the truck is left unattended, it must
always remain in clear view of the driver. A vehicle that carries
hazardous materials apart from Class A or B explosives and is located on
a public street or highway must always be attended by the driver unless
the driver is forced to leave the vehicle in order to perform duties
necessary to resume driving.

*a safe haven is anywhere approved by local, state, or U.S.
Government officials where commercial motor vehicles can be parked and
left unattended.

49 CFR §397.7: PARKING

Drivers carrying explosives cannot park on or within 5 feet of any
roadway, on private property without permission, within 300 feet of a
bridge, tunnel, house, or any place where people congregate unless it is
impossible to park the vehicle elsewhere. If the driver is carrying any
kind of hazardous material he must stop at least 5 feet from the
traveled part of the highway except for short periods when the vehicle
must be parked and it is impossible to park anywhere else.

49 CFR §397.11: FIRES

When transporting hazardous materials, a driver must not park within
300 feet of a fire or drive anywhere near an open fire unless
precautions are taken to ensure a safe passage.

49 CFR §397.13: SMOKING

No one is allowed to smoke within 25 feet of a motor vehicle
containing explosives, oxidizing or flammable materials, or an empty
trailer that has transported placarded flammable liquids in the past.

49 CFR §397.15: FUELING

The engine of a commercial motor vehicle must be turned off and
someone must always be in attendance when the vehicle is being refueled.

49 CFR §397.17: TIRES

All tires must be inspected at the beginning of a trip, whenever the
vehicle is parked, and either every two hours or 100 miles, whichever
comes first. Overheated tires must be removed and taken away from the
vehicle to cool, and the driver must not drive the vehicle again until
the cause of the overheating is discovered and corrected.


Any driver carrying Class A or Class B explosives needs to know what
type of explosives he is transporting, and also what emergency steps
would need to be taken if an emergency such as a fire, accident or leak
were to occur. The driver is required to carry a copy of the rules in
part 397 of the federal regulations along with a document instructing
him on what to do in the event of an accident or delay.


A driver must plan all routes carefully and avoid heavily populated
areas like places where crowds gather, tunnels, or alleys when
transporting non-radioactive hazardous materials. A driver transporting
Class 1, Division 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 explosives must have a written route
plan before leaving the terminal, but if the trip doesn’t begin at the
terminal the driver can produce a handwritten route plan.