While a career as a truck driver in Georgia can have its perks, there are many state and federal regulations drivers must comply with. These rules are in place to keep all drivers on the road safe. If you do not follow the rules, you can face severe penalties, fines, and even the loss of your license.
Keep reading below to learn about the most important regulations and rules truck drivers must follow in Georgia to stay on the road.
Federal Rules Truck Drivers in Georgia Must Follow
Federal regulations for truck drivers are specifically outlined in 49 CFR § 303-399.
A truck driver must follow federal rules and regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration if they drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). A CMV, defined by 49 U.S. Code § 31132, is a vehicle that is operated for a business and is involved in interstate commerce that either:
- Weighs at least 10,001 pounds or has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of at least 10,001 pounds
- Can carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation or carry nine or more passengers for compensation
- Transports hazardous materials in a quantity that requires placards
For more information on federal truck drivers’ rules and regulations, visit Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.
Hours of Service Regulations
To make sure drivers stay awake and aware while operating a CMV, truck drivers must follow federal regulations regarding driving duration and rest times. Hours for CMV drivers carrying passengers will vary for those drivers transporting property. The regulations below are for drivers carrying property. The FMCSA also lists the hours of service for passenger carrying CMV drivers.
Truck drivers are allowed to drive for a maximum of 11 hours after having 10 hours off duty or 60-70 hours over seven to eight days. Drivers carrying property must also take a 30-minute break after driving for 8 hours. In total, truck drivers are not allowed to operate a CMV for more than 14 hours in a row after reporting to work. The 14-hour duration is not extended by eating or refueling breaks.
Drivers must also keep detailed and accurate logs of their service hours to ensure compliance.
Drug and Alcohol Rules
All truck drivers must comply with regular drug and alcohol testing as outlined in 49 U.S. Code § 382. They are subject to:
- Pre-employment testing
- Post-accident testing
- Unannounced random testing
- Testing under reasonable suspicion
- Return to duty and follow-up testing
When notified, a truck driver must report to the testing site as soon as they are told to do so. Federal regulations require drivers to be tested for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and phencyclidine. If a driver fails a drug test or refuses to take one, they can no longer operate a CMV.
You can read more about these rules in the Federal Drug & Alcohol Testing Regulations pamphlet.
Cargo Securement Regulations
Truck drivers must ensure that cargo is secured by dunnage or dunnage bags, shoring bars, tie-downs, or a combination of securement tools. Cargo that can roll must also be secured using chocks, wedges, or a cradle to avoid moving. The FMCSA’s Cargo Securement Rules page discusses these requirements in depth.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
State Rules Truck Drivers in Georgia Must Follow
Regulations for truck drivers in Georgia are similar to federal laws, although Georgia laws add some additional definitions and requirements. Georgia’s rules on truck drivers are outlined in GA Code § 32. However, they must also abide by the federal hour of service, substance, and cargo regulations.
In Georgia, a CMV also includes “combination” vehicles that weigh at least 26,001 pounds.
However, CMV rules in Georgia do not apply to farm, military, emergency, and recreation vehicles.
Who Can Operate a CMV in Georgia?
To operate a CMV in Georgia, truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). There are three different types of CDLs outlined on the Department of Driver Services:
- Class A: For a truck trailer or tractor-semitrailer that combined weighs at least 26,001 pounds, and the unit being towed weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
- Class B: For single vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more with a towing unit weighing less than 10,000 pounds.
- Class C: For vehicles carrying sixteen or more people or transporting hazardous materials.
To apply for a CDL, you must be at least 18 years old, own a valid Georgia driver’s license, and hold a current Class AP or BP Instructional Permit for at least 14 days.
As documented on the Georgia Department of Public Safety website, CMVs in Georgia cannot exceed:
- A width 8′ 6″
- A height 13′ 6″
- 100 feet in length, including the overhang
- 80,000 lbs. in gross weight
If the truck is larger than the size established by these regulations, the Georgia Department of Transportation offers permits of oversized vehicles.
Stay Compliant with CMV Federal and State Regulations
It can be tricky to juggle all the state and federal rules for truck drivers in Georgia. And you may be at risk of hefty penalties, fines, and even the loss of your license if you do not follow the regulations. Trucking laws can also complicate matters when you are involved in an accident.