What Are the Legal Requirements for Starting a Trucking Business?


If you’re thinking of starting a business, there are few options that will offer you the benefits that trucking can offer. However, you must make sure that you know the legal requirements in order to operate professionally and avoid fines and charges. Read on to see the legal requirements that exist for starting a trucking business so that you can start on the right foot and set up a successful venture from the ground up.

A USDOT Number

The first thing that you’ll need to get is a USDOT number, which is necessary for any company in the United States that wants to haul cargo. This number functions as a unique identifier when collecting and monitoring the safety information of a company as well as during audits, crash investigations, compliance reviews, and roadside inspections.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration Compliance

Keep in mind that the United States Department of Labor administers and enforces over 180 federal laws. It also covers the workplace activities for 150 million workers to safeguard their wellbeing. These include regulations that govern the health of workers in an organization. They also outline the responsibilities of employers to make sure that their employees are safe at all times while working.


To make sure that you keep your business safe from the risks that abound in trucking, you need to get insurance coverage. Some of the insurance coverage that you need to consider are general liability insurance to cover third-party lawsuits, and commercial auto insurance. This covers medical bills, legal costs, and any physical damage that involves your company’s trucks. You’ll also need motor truck cargo insurance to cover the replacement of goods that have been lost or damaged while in your care. Keep in mind that in California, for example, you should contact the police in 24 hours if anyone has been injured in a car accident. In this case, it will do your trucking company a lot of good to have the relevant insurance coverage.

A Commercial Driver’s License

Another legal requirement that you need before you start a trucking business is a commercial driver’s license. This is because you need specialized knowledge and skills to drive a haulage truck safely. You’ll also need to get additional endorsements if you have tankers, trucks carrying hazardous or dangerous materials, and trucks with double or triple trailers.

Fire and Safety Compliance

Fire and safety compliance is an important legal requirement that ensures you’ve taken measures to protect your company from the devastating outcomes of fire. The regulations don’t stop at the premises, since all trucks must have a fire extinguisher on board with them when they’re in operation. This way, it’s possible to prevent a potentially disastrous fire if the driver has a working fire extinguisher and they know how to use it.

General Business Licenses

Finally, as with any other business, you need to have general business licenses for your trucking company. With the United States having around 1.2 million trucking companies, you must register yours in order to enjoy the protection of the law and make sure that you meet state and federal licensing requirements. You may be fined heavily or even forced to close your business if you’re found operating without a general business license, so don’t neglect to get one even if you meet all other legal requirements. Check at the federal level to find out the specific licenses you need to have for your haulage business.

Ensure that you have met all the legal requirements you need to meet before you begin operations. Doing so will make it easy for you to focus on growing your business as you’ll know that you’re not breaking the law in any way.