Ensure Drivers Have the Right Documents for Compliance


Although it may not be your favorite aspect of being an owner-operator, paperwork management is a serious responsibility. You must have current documentation at all times, including for yourself as the driver, your truck and trailer, and, if applicable, your motor carrier. Missing documentation has serious consequences, including excessive violations that can negatively impact your business and career.

Ensure that you and all your drivers have the required paperwork in their cabs before being dispatched. This ensures that you will be in compliance with driver or vehicle inspections. Officials who can stop a vehicle and perform an inspection include:

  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): Oversight and funding of inspections
  • Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA): Develops inspection criteria and program
  • State Troopers: Performs the actual inspection

What Paperwork to Carry

We’ve provided a list of documents below that may be required for your type of operation and depending on the gross vehicle weight of your vehicles. The guideline is for an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer. Make sure you review each state’s requirements so that you’re all set before going on the road. In addition, ensure all documentation and permits are current and valid.

  • State Driver’s License or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
  • FMCSA Authority Letter
  • Insurance Card: Proof of insurance must show the effective and expiration dates of coverage
  • Title & Registration
  • Medical Card
  • Unified Carrier Registration [UCR]
  • Intrastate Authority (if applicable)
  • Base IFTA License & Decals
  • Apportion Cab Card (over 26K GVW)
  • Daily Log
  • IRS 2290 Heavy Highway Use Tax (over 55K GVW)
  • Safety Certificates
  • Bill of Lading
  • Lease Agreement
  • EPA Emissions Certificate
  • Hazmat Paperwork

State Permits,  including state-specific documents:

  • Connecticut Mileage Tax Permit (over 26K GVW) NEW
  • Kentucky Weight Distance Tax (KYU) Permit (over 59,999 GVW)
  • New Mexico Mileage Tax Permit (over 26K GVW)
  • New York HUT (over 18K GVW)
  • Oregon License & Bond (over 26K GVW)
  • Oversize/Overweight Permit (if applicable)

We recommend keeping all of your documentation (except your CDL and medical card) in a three-ring binder where you can easily add new information and remove expired certificates.

Make copies of everything; you need to carry the originals of your CDL, registration, and specific certificates. Leave the duplicates at the office or home. You may even want to use your phone to photograph or a printer to scan each document as a digital file that you can access on the road if your binder is damaged.

In addition, ensure that none of the documents have expired. This is the most common reason why inspections fail. Expiration dates differ, so it’s easy to overlook one.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is an insurance brokerage specializing in commercial truck insurance. We know this stuff and want to make sure you do too. Our clients appreciate our dedication to finding competitive rates and offering unparalleled service beyond excellent insurance options. They also value how our state-of-the-art automation provides lightning-fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more.