Trucking Company Rules and What You Need To Know
Trucking is one of America’s most essential industries; it accounts for 70-80% of all freight transportation in the United States. Truck drivers are also the backbone of America’s economy, carrying manufactured goods and raw materials to processing plants, stores, schools, hospitals, etc. The average driver makes $42,000 per year and is expected to see a 20% increase in employment over the next ten years.
Most truck drivers work for large “for-hire” companies under contract with other businesses. These drivers must follow the rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as well as those of their own employers.
These rules vary depending on a number of factors, including the driver’s license class and medical certification date. Every trucking company has its own set of rules that must be followed. These include:
- Company vehicle inspections
Monthly, all company vehicles must have a pre-trip inspection. This is to ensure that the truck meets all FMCSA safety standards and is in good mechanical working order. The driver must report any problems found during these checks.
It is important for drivers to keep up with their company’s monthly inspections. If they do not pass the inspection, the truck must be taken out of service until they do or until a mechanic can fix it. Not passing an inspection puts a driver at risk of being fired from his/her job by breaking contract rules set forth by their employer (or “for-hire” carrier).
- Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspections
Before a driver can pull his or her company vehicle onto the highway, they must perform a pre-trip inspection. This is to ensure that all systems are in proper working order and that no mechanical issues exist. This check includes checking such things as lights, brakes, tires, fluids, mirrors, horns, and wipers.
Drivers must mark down all of the items checked during their pre-trip inspections on a list provided by the company. They also need to note any problems with their truck so it can be repaired before allowing them back on the road. Drivers not reporting these issues could be disciplined and/or fired for failing to follow their employer’s specific rules listed in their contract agreement with drivers who work for them.
- Drug and Alcohol Testing
Every trucking company has a strict drug and alcohol policy they must follow based on the policies set forth by the FMCSA. Their drug & alcohol testing procedure is one of the biggest ways these companies try to stay compliant with federal regulations governing their industry as well as protect drivers from dangerous situations that may result from drug or alcohol use while working. See below for more information on this subject.
Companies can be held liable if a driver violates company rules, especially those regarding drugs and alcohol. This applies to all companies regardless of size, whether they’re large trucking fleets with hundreds of trucks or small family-run businesses with a few trucks under their name. The same goes for contracted drivers and independent contractors.
The company must explain these rules to all employees and drivers during their training period and make sure they understand them clearly. Failure to do so could result in a driver breaking the law unknowingly, putting the company at risk of fines and loss of a contract with other businesses.
Drivers can be held liable for violating their employer’s rules as well as federal driving laws such as: having an open container or consuming alcohol while driving (regardless of whether or not it is company property), refusing to take a drug test, possessing illicit drugs, etc.
- Business Rules/Procedures
All for-hire companies’ rules vary depending on what type of business they are operating under. However, most will include some sort of process they expect drivers to follow before leaving their premises. This will include such things as:
- Locating and Load Sheet
Before a driver can get behind the wheel of the company truck, he or she must locate and load up all of the freight for their upcoming delivery(s). If the driver fails to do this on time, it could result in them being fired since it shows that they cannot meet deadlines and complete their job responsibilities efficiently. They could also face legal action from customers for failing to deliver goods on time (because of not having them loaded onto the truck according to customer specifications).
- Electronic Logbook Submission
All companies require that drivers electronically submit their logbooks at some point during their run (unless otherwise stated in their company’s rules). Drivers who fail to do so will be unable to keep track of how many hours they are on the road and may risk being in violation of federal regulations. This could result in fines, termination from the company, etc.
- Return Trip
When a driver returns home after completing his or her route(s), they must perform inspections on their vehicle before pulling into their company parking lot/garage. This applies to all vehicles, whether they’re owned by drivers or companies. All vehicles should be thoroughly checked for any damage that may have resulted during the trip back home (to prevent false claims against the company).
Drivers should always ask for written proof of why they were terminated if it is stated by their employer, even if it is a verbal warning. This way, drivers can have a record of what took place should the company report them to MVR or DOT and they wish to take legal action in response.
- Shop Rules
Companies with their own repair shops must also follow strict rules when it comes to how work orders are created, parts ordered (if applicable), who does/doesn’t work on vehicles, etc.
If any driver has concerns about what is expected of them by their employer or if they think they were treated unfairly for breaking one of the company’s rules, they should contact an employment lawyer right away to discuss their situation. Every case will vary depending on specific circumstances, so it’s best to seek professional legal advice before taking any action.
- Besides any contract, do i need a boc-3 for my trucking llc and is it necessary?
No, you are not required to have a BOC-3. Some companies will require their drivers to carry one, but it’s not necessary for an LLC.
Even if you aren’t a professional driver, knowing what they’re responsible for can help you better understand this important industry. The more educated consumers are about trucking, the better. This way, they can appreciate what drivers do for them in terms of their day-to-day lives and how important this industry is for the U.S economy.