Don’t Be Caught Without Your Required Paperwork!
Have you had an inspection turn south because of missing paperwork? Whether you call it a permit book, a paperwork binder or a document folder you need to keep one in your truck. Here is a list of 8 important pieces of paperwork a truck driver should always have in their permit folder.
- MC Authority – MC Authority shows your company’s registration with the DOT and authorizes you to transport freight. It lists your company name and motor carrier number.
- Certificate of Insurance – The title says it all; it lists your insurance company and policy numbers along with contacts for your agent. Keep in mind there are several policies on the same sheet. They may have different expiration dates, so be sure to check them all.
- Truck Registration – This paperwork lists your rig’s VIN, license plate, make and model as well as info on the registered owner. States issues IRP registrations annually, and they can be valid for single or multiple states. Just like with insurance, expiration dates are critical.
- Annual Inspection – Certified mechanics fill out these checklists and confirm your equipment is operational and defect free. Annual means dates are important, be sure to check for expiration dates. Yearly inspection stickers go on the side of your truck, but you also need the paper inside your binder.
- Lease Agreement – If you are an owner operator or drive a truck not registered under your company’s name, you need a lease agreement. These vary between a single page or multipage contracts, this document lists equipment ownership and lease terms.
- IFTA – You need both stickers and a cab card. Both need annual updates and show company information and expiration dates, IFTA stickers change colors annually making it easy to spot outdated ones.
- ELD Instructions –Paperwork that explains how to operate your electronic logging device. The DOT mandates that these must be kept inside your truck and presented during an inspection.
- Backup Paper Logs – Again, mandated by the DOT in case of ELD failure, you need at least one week’s worth of driver logs or minimum of seven sheets.
While truck drivers need trailer registration and annual inspections during DOT inspections, we advise against keeping this paperwork inside the cab. These go inside a box mounted on the nose of the trailer. Drivers tend to keep them inside the cab for easy access, but this can lead to problems. If you swap trailers, this paperwork stays with you and hence leaves the other driver without the documents. An excellent tip to keep your papers organized is a ringed binder with clear plastic sleeves, protecting your paperwork against rips and spills and keeping everything within reach.