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The Permit Book: What do Drivers Need to Keep in the Cab?

So you've gotten through the hard part of getting your trucking company started, and now it's finally time to hit the road. However, you're stuck wondering what paperwork drivers need to have in the cab before they go and pick up the first load.

You are smart for wondering this, as having proper documentation can prevent an inspection from going south.

According to the FMCSA, documents include, but may not be limited to the following:

  • State driver’s license or commercial driver’s license (CDL)

  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate or waiver and Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate (if applicable)

  • Record of duty status (paper logs allowed if exempt from an electronic logging device (ELD))

  • Vehicle registrations for the truck or tractor and trailer (if applicable)

  • Periodic inspection document for all vehicles being operated

  • Shipping papers or bills of lading

  • Any receipts obtained throughout the trip

  • Information required for hazardous materials being transported (e.g. shipping papers, permits, route plan, etc., if applicable)

  • Proof of insurance must be carried in all vehicles

  • All foreign motor carriers must carry proof of liability insurance endorsement (e.g., Form MCS-90)

  • For Mexico-domiciled motor carriers authorized to operate in the U.S.-Mexico commercial zones and municipalities – Proof of insurance must show effective date and expiration date of insurance coverage

  • For Mexico-domiciled motor carriers authorized to operate in the U.S.-Mexico commercial zones and municipalities – Certificate of Registration (MX Certificate)

  • If required by the state Proof of International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), International Registration Plan (IRP) and/or Heavy Vehicle Use Tax

This information can be found at:

It would be wise to keep those documents in a binder in clear protective sheets.

However, it is also imperative to understand that each state may require additional documentation. The DOT website for the state where your truck's base apportioned plates belong will have that information.

For example, CalTrans has the following posted:

Some additional docs that may or not be necessary, but should be kept in the vehicle include:

  • State Permits (Oregon, New Mexico, Kentucky)

  • Owner operator lease agreement or authority letter

  • Accident report sheet

  • ELD instructions

  • Backup paper logs

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