The trucking industry is a vital part of the American economy, and like many other industries, trucking has a helpful dose of government regulation. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sets plenty of guidelines for the trucking industry in order to keep the roads safe and truckers at their peak ability. Independent owner-operators must stay compliant with DOT regulations in order to maintain their business.
So what exactly can individual truckers do to stay compliant with the DOT?
Earn A Commercial Driver’s License
The Department Of Transportation requires any professional driver to receive their commercial driver’s license (CDL), but that requirement will actually help you become a better driver than you’d expect. To earn your CDL, you’ll need training from a truck driving school which can provide the hands-on experience you need to pass your DMV-administered CDL exam.
Going through the process of earning your CDL will show employers you’re serious about your future as a trucker, providing a great foundation for your career.
Enroll In A Drug And Alcohol Testing Consortium
Most aspiring truckers don’t realize that the Department of Transportation requires regular drug and alcohol testing for drivers. These tests might seem like a hassle, but they actually keep the industry safe by preventing drivers from abusing drugs or alcohol while on the road.
Thankfully, there are plenty of companies dedicated to facilitating drug and alcohol tests for truckers. These companies provide trucking businesses with the DOT-approved testing services they need, from pre-employment drug testing to random drug tests and more. Your trucking company will likely help you enroll with a drug and alcohol testing service, though if you become an independent owner-operator you’ll need to handle that process and provide proper documentation to the DOT yourself.
Vehicle Maintenance And Inspections
You drive your truck every single day, and you need to ensure you keep up with maintenance and required inspections to ensure it runs properly. But outside of just ensuring your truck operates at peak condition, the DOT requires regular maintenance on your truck. You might think you can skip out on maintenance, but you’ll regret that if your company must undergo a random DOT Safety Audit.
Employ Safe Driving Practices
It’s difficult to keep track of all the DOT requirements for truck drivers, and the best way you can ensure you don’t have trouble with the DOT is to employ safe driving practices. Make sure you aren’t driving while distracted, pay attention to your workplace’s requirements, and be sure to receive additional trucking training when you need it. And if you don’t understand the DOT’s requirements for drivers, ask your supervisor for clarification. As a new trucker, you aren’t expected to know everything about the business, but you should always be asking questions to learn more.