Distributors: Navigating Federal & State Regulations

Posted by Maeghan Hurley on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 @ 08:55 AM

Distributors Navigating Federal and State Regulations

While shipping regulations for trucks and truck drivers are federally controlled, drivers still often must stop at weigh stations immediately, or soon after, crossing a state line. States generally won’t have different regulations, but they might require authorization and, if nothing else, trucks must be weighed and sometimes inspected, and Hours of Service log books will get checked.

Here’s what you need to know about the process of vehicle inspection as well as some pros/cons of owning your own fleet and knowing exactly what’s required by the federal government.

What Goes on at a Weigh Station

Drivers who enter a weigh station are there primarily to ensure they’re within federal weight limits for most U.S. highways and freeways—80,000 lbs. Some permits allow overweight trucks onto these highways if they aren’t divisible, but these permits have to be received before the trip.

Depending on the weigh station and the results after being weighed, some drivers will be required to submit their Hours of Service logs to ensure that they’re driving legally within their limits—and their vehicles will go through inspection to ensure that all documents are in order, the truck is operating safely, and the product is stable and verified. This process can delay drivers, inevitably, and that’s why it’s important that your drivers are informed and reliable so that their passage through a weigh station goes smoothly.

If not, delays can build.   

What Risks do Unreliable Drivers Run?

Drivers who aren’t fulfilling their legal obligations to keep their truck safe and to fill out Hours of Service logs in a correct way run the risk of having their truck delayed, taken off the highway, or having your company fined. With a shortage of qualified drivers in the U.S., currently, that more and more focus on proper training and proper enforcement of those safety and traveling regulations.

Third-Party Logistics or Own Your Fleet?

The lack of drivers, the importance of training on federal regulations, and the hassle that sometimes occurs at weigh stations might all be daunting when thinking about your own fleet. Meeting these regulations is most definitely doable, but at this point, after reviewing and thinking about regulations, you should consider other options such as a third-party logistics (3PL) partnership or teaming with teams of drivers who have a lot of experience with satisfying safety and travel regulations. 


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Topics: 3PL, Shipping, Drivers, Fleet