Whether we call it a permit book, a paperwork binder or a document folder you keep one in your truck. Have you had an inspection turn south because of missing paperwork? We know we have! We sat down and made this list of what truck drivers need in their permit folder.
It 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 might have different expiration dates, so be sure to check them all.
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.
Certified mechanics fill out these checklists. They confirm your equipment is operational and defect free. Annual means dates are important. Check for expiration. Yearly inspection stickers go on the side of your truck, but you also need the paper from inside your binder.
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 and multipage contracts. It's a document listing equipment ownership and lease terms.
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 IFTA stickers change colors annually making it easy to spot outdated ones
While most states can check permit status by running your VIN, Oregon requires you to carry a paper copy in your truck. Kentucky and New Mexico no longer need hard copies and New York states now issue stickers. You can read more on the ODOT website.
Written instructions on how to operate your electronic logging device. The DOT mandates these have to 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.
If your company is transporting Hazmat materials, you need to have the proper permits. For non-high-risk shipments, you need an FMCSA hazmat permit that certifies your company has the appropriate endorsements. These permits have expiration dates and can be valid for single or multiple years. In addition to the federal licensing requirements, individual states require separate hazmat permits. These states are Colorado, California, Idaho, West Virginia, Nevada, Oklahoma and Michigan (the last four share a single license).
Read our guide to hazmat trucking
While truck drivers need trailer registration and annual inspections during DOT inspections, we advise against keeping them inside the cab. These go inside a box mounted on the nose of the trailer. We know drivers opt to keep them inside the cab for easy access, but this leads to problems. If you swap trailers, this paperwork stays with you and hence leaves the other driver without documents.
An excellent tip to keep your papers organized is a ringed binder with clear plastic sleeves. It will protects against rips and spills and keeps things within reach.