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9 Trucking Safety Documents You Should Know About

Compliance is key to maintaining a CDL and/or operating a successful trucking business. Let’s talk about 9 important safety documents that you must know about as a CDL holder or trucking business owner!

Driver Logs or Records of Duty Status (RODS): Driver logs, also known as Records of Duty Status (RODS), are documents used to track a driver's hours of service (HOS) and changes in duty status for a 24-hour period. These logs record information such as driving time, on-duty time, off-duty time, and rest breaks. Federal regulation requires drivers to keep a minimum of 8 days’ worth of blank paper logs onboard a commercial motor vehicle to record duty status. You can download a copy of a printable Driver Daily Log & DVIR combination here!

Driver-Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs): Driver-Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) are used to document pre-trip and post-trip inspections of commercial vehicles. Drivers are required to conduct thorough inspections of their vehicles and record any defects or deficiencies found, along with any corrective actions taken. Drivers are required to keep DVIRs onboard if they have found vehicle defects or deficiencies. You can download a copy of a printable Driver Daily Log & DVIR combination here!

Maintenance Records: Maintenance records document all maintenance and repairs performed on commercial vehicles, including routine servicing, repairs, and inspections. These records help ensure that vehicles are properly maintained and in safe operating condition.

Driver Qualification Files: Driver qualification files contain documentation related to a driver's qualifications and credentials, including their commercial driver's license (CDL), medical certifications, driving record, and employment history. These files are required by federal regulations to verify a driver's eligibility to operate a commercial vehicle. Download our FREE Driver Qualification File Checklist here.

Drug and Alcohol Testing Records: Drug and alcohol testing records document the results of drug and alcohol tests conducted on drivers in accordance with federal regulations. Employers are required to document their testing program including items such as test results, testing process administration, return to duty process administration, employee training, and supervisor training.

Insurance Certificates and Documents: Insurance certificates and documents provide proof of insurance coverage for commercial vehicles and operations. These documents are essential for demonstrating compliance with insurance requirements and protecting against liability in the event of accidents or incidents.

ELD Record, Reference Card, and Malfunction Guide: Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are used to record a driver's hours of service electronically. ELD records serve as digital logs of a driver's on-duty and off-duty time, driving time, and rest breaks, replacing traditional paper logbooks. Additionally, drivers should carry an ELD reference card, which provides instructions on operating the ELD system, as well as a malfunction guide, which outlines procedures for handling ELD malfunctions and recording hours manually when necessary.

DOT Annual Inspection Reports: DOT Annual Inspection Reports document the results of annual inspections conducted on commercial vehicles to ensure compliance with safety regulations. These inspections cover various components of the vehicle, including brakes, tires, lights, steering, and suspension. If the vehicle passes inspection, a report is generated indicating compliance. If any deficiencies are found, corrective actions must be taken and documented before the vehicle can be certified as compliant. A copy of this report should be kept in the vehicle. Download our Definitive "All-in-One" Vehicle Inspection Report Checklist Bundle here.

Placards: Placards are signs or labels displayed on commercial vehicles to convey important information about the cargo being transported, such as hazardous materials (HAZMAT) classifications, flammable materials, or oversized loads. Placards help ensure that drivers, emergency responders, and others are aware of the potential hazards associated with the cargo and can take appropriate precautions. Placarding requirements are governed by federal regulations and must be adhered to by commercial vehicle operators.

Please note that this is not a complete list of safety documentation. If you would like to learn more about required documentation, check out our book, How To Start, Drive, & Accelerate Your Trucking Business!

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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. Contents may not be relied upon as a substitute for the FMCSA's published regulations. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.


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