Examining the Most Common Trucking Violations (Part 1)

trucking violations

In order to avoid racking up significant fees, losing drivers and employees, taking a branding and public relations hit, and even facing legal troubles, it’s essential for your trucking operation to know about, fully understand, and consistently work to avoid the most common and egregious trucking violations in the industry. Even well-run trucking companies can sometimes run into problems when faced with common violations of trucking regulations, such as duty status reporting violations, driver’s license mix-ups, log book records falsification, overstepping legal hourly and weekly work restrictions and more. In addition to having a strong Truck insurance policy, it’s crucial to actively work to prevent these types of violations from occurring within your operation. Whether you’re trying to mitigate fallout from existing violations or whether you’re trying to keep your company out of trouble both now and in the future, examining the most frequent violations could help. Here are the top ones to remain aware of.

Employing Drivers Who Hold the Wrong Class of Driver’s License

Although mixing up the type of driver’s license needed to operate certain types of machinery and vehicles may be a relatively common mistake, it can also lead to serious financial and legal consequences for your operation. Be sure to double-check that you’re employing drivers who hold the appropriate type of commercial driver’s license for your vehicles. There are three types of applicable licenses to know about, namely:

Class A commercial driver’s license, or CDL, for drivers who operate vehicles that tow other vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds

  • Class B CDL, for drivers who operate vehicles in excess of 26000 lbs GV W and do not tow over 10,000 pounds
  • Class C, CDL or not, for drivers who operate vehicles under 26000 lbs.

Failing To Post a Daily Carrier Record of Each Driver’s Duty Status

As a trucking business and motor carrier, you may be legally required to post daily records of all your drivers’ duty statuses. Failing to provide this information could lead to hefty penalties. Remember that:

  • Your carrier is obligated to provide a duty status for each of your drivers every 24 hours
  • Some drivers may be able to apply for exemptions from the Electronic Logging Device mandate requiring a duty status record
  • Some exempt drivers may still be required to provide time records for every six months of on-duty status
  • A violation relating to duty status records could result in thousands of dollars of fines

Failing To Take Required or Appropriate Driving Safety Precautions

In some instances, failing to take required or situationally appropriate truck driving safety precautions could lead to legal problems and put your drivers, as well as others on the road, in peril. Some essential safety tips to remind all your drivers to follow include:

  • Signaling before exiting or changing lanes to provide proper notice of your actions to other drivers
  • Adjusting all mirrors prior to starting the drive and checking the mirrors and blind spots frequently
  • Remaining vigilant and keeping an eye out for wayward drivers, potential accidents, hazardous road conditions and so on
  • Always keeping essential trucking safety gear, such as jump-start cables, road flares, first-aid kits, reflective sticky tape, safety signs, traffic cones, flashlights and more in the vehicle during each drive
  • Always slowing down or pulling off to the side on exit ramps in dangerous weather conditions or on steep hills and sudden curves

Exceeding the Daily Cumulative Driving Hours Limit

For most commercial drivers, there is a legally mandated cumulative driving hours limit that cannot be exceeded. Your company may face fees and even lawsuits if your drivers are:

  • Working for more than 14 hours at a time
  • Not taking at least 10 consecutive hours of personal time before beginning another 14-hour shift or less
  • Operating a vehicle for 15-plus hours if the driver is carrying passengers in the vehicle

Exceeding the Weekly Consecutive Driving Period Without Taking Time Off

In a similar manner to the daily driving limit, there is a weekly consecutive driving period that your drivers cannot exceed. Your trucking operation could be liable if caught asking or allowing employees to:

  • Drive 70 or more hours while on duty for more than eight days in a row
  • Drive more than 60 hours while on duty for over a week
  • Violate the 7-day and 8-day consecutive periods without taking at least a 34-hour off-duty restart period first

Knowingly Falsifying Drivers’ Log Books and Other Essential Records

Having accurate company records and drivers’ log books is essential for both record-keeping and legal reasons, so knowledgeable falsification of these records is among the most serious of trucker violations. Your organization may be confronted with severe penalties if your:

  • Drivers falsify their logs
  • Managers falsify driving logs in lieu of the drivers
  • High-level employees knowingly record inaccurate information on other important company records or documents
  • Company has a repeat history of falsified log book violations
  • Company has had to take drivers out of service or pay fines due to log book violations

One or more trucking-related violations could lead to serious financial penalties, cause a loss of employees, and potentially land your trucking organization in legal hot water. If you already have a company Truck insurance policy just in case of unexpected events but you want to be better prepared for dealing with potential violations, this list could prove handy. Examine these frequent violations, from falsifying records to operating under the wrong license to exceeding legal work hours and more, can equip the company to prevent and handle these instances.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!