California is the third-largest and the most populous state in the United States. With it housing almost 40 million residents and featuring multiple industries, it is the perfect state for trucking companies to set up their business. Due to this reason, the trucking industry in California is very competitive, and trucking business owners need to be on the top of their game to succeed.
A large part of this preparation consists of being aware of the laws surrounding the trucking industry, and given below are four rules and regulations in California for a trucking business that you should know about:
1. Permits and licenses
Operating in the United States as a trucking company, let alone in California, requires business owners to secure several permits and licenses. Firstly, all your drivers would require a commercial driver’s license. Secondly, your company would need to acquire an MC number from the state of California for all of its operating vehicles.
Thirdly, your company would also require a California DOT number and a Motor Carrier Permit. Fourthly, your company would need to complete the paperwork for Unified Carrier Registration. If you wish to operate outside California, you would have to obtain an International Registration Plan tag. Finally, your company would also need to fill out the BOC-3 form for interstate operations.
2. Working hours for drivers
As a trucking business, you should be aware of the maximum number of hours an employee can drive under rules by the FMCSA. For instance, an employed driver cannot work for more than 14 consecutive hours in a work day. During this 14-hour window, the drivers should only be behind the wheel for a maximum of 11 hours. Before the beginning of the next work day, they should rest for at least 10 hours straight.
These laws are strict in particular due to the harmful effects that improper sleep for your drivers can have on the life of the general public. If your drivers take sleeping breaks during their time of duty, you are not obliged to pay them for these breaks according to a new law passed in California.
3. Weight and loading regulations
According to the California vehicle code, no commercial vehicle can carry more than 80,000 pounds of weight. Any companies needing to carry more than that would have to obtain a special permit. The California Highway Patrol has teams all over the state operate weighing stations to ensure compliance.
Keeping the weight aside, there are particular instructions that trucking companies need to follow regarding loading freight into their trucks. Wrongly loading a commercial truck may lead to dangerous accidents, and while loading you should ensure that the weight is evenly distributed.
4. Liability for injuries
While earlier trucking companies used to avoid responsibility for accidents by stating how their drivers were independent contractors, federal laws have now made this impossible. Despite having drivers working as independent contractors, any accidents are the trucking company’s liability provided the driver was performing his/her on-duty role.
If accidents happen due to a lack of proper maintenance or inadequate training of drivers, the trucking company should be held responsible and would have to incur financial liability. Companies are hence required to have liability insurance as well. This california trucking insurance would cover hospital bills for victims, and costs of property repair.
The above-mentioned regulations are important for the safety and security of the general public, including that of your drivers. The working hours, mandatory breaks, loading restrictions, and permits are necessary to ensure that your company takes the safety of the public seriously, is dedicated to doing good, and isn’t simply interested in profit-making.