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6 Hot Shot Trucking DOT Regulations You Must Know

The essence of Hot Shot Trucking DOT regulations is to ensure the safety of drivers, vehicles, and the public on the road. These regulations set standards for how long drivers can operate a vehicle, how often vehicles must be inspected and maintained, and what qualifications and certifications drivers must have.

Additionally, regulations are in place to prohibit drug and alcohol use while operating a vehicle and to ensure that companies maintain accurate records. By adhering to these regulations, hotshot trucking companies can help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries and protect their business and drivers from legal and financial liability.

Most Important Hot Shot Trucking DOT Regulations You Must Know

  1. Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations

Hours of Service (HOS) regulations for hot shot trucking are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and are designed to prevent fatigued driving and promote safety on the roads. These regulations limit the amount of time a driver can spend behind the wheel and require them to take mandatory rest breaks.

The HOS regulations for hot shot trucking include the following:

  • 14-hour duty limit: A driver may not drive after 14 consecutive hours on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • 11-hour driving limit: A driver may not drive more than 11 hours during the 14-hour duty period.
  • 30-minute break: A driver must take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving.
  • 60/70-hour rule: Drivers are limited to 60 hours of driving in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days, after which they must take 34 consecutive hours off duty.

It is important to note that these regulations apply to drivers who are operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and are subject to FMCSA regulations. Drivers who operate a vehicle under a certain weight and size may be exempt from these regulations.

  1. Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection

Vehicle maintenance and inspection are crucial for ensuring the safety of hot shot trucking operations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations in place to ensure that commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) used in hot shot trucking are regularly inspected, maintained, and repaired to ensure they are safe to operate.

The main aspects of the FMCSA regulations for vehicle maintenance and inspection include:

  • Preventive maintenance: Companies are required to have a preventive maintenance program in place and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for regular inspections and maintenance. This includes regular checks of brakes, lights, tires, and other critical components.
  • Annual inspections: CMVs must undergo an annual inspection, known as a “periodic inspection” which is done by a qualified inspector, to ensure that the vehicle is in safe operating condition.
  • Recordkeeping: Companies must maintain accurate records of all inspections and maintenance performed on their vehicles.
  • Out-of-service orders: If a vehicle is found to be in an unsafe condition during an inspection, it may be placed out-of-service until the necessary repairs are made.
  • Safety management controls: Companies must have safety management controls in place to ensure compliance with these regulations, and to improve the safety of their fleet.

It is important to note that these regulations apply to all types of hot shot trucking, including flatbed, step deck, and specialized hauling. Companies must ensure that their vehicles are compliant with these regulations and conduct regular inspections to avoid penalties and fines, as well as to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

  1. Driver Qualifications

Driver qualifications are a crucial aspect of hot shot trucking safety, as they ensure that drivers are properly trained and qualified to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations in place that dictate the qualifications and certifications that drivers must have to operate CMVs in hot shot trucking. The main aspects of the FMCSA regulations for driver qualifications include:

  • Commercial driver’s license (CDL): Drivers must have a valid CDL with the appropriate class and endorsement for the type of vehicle they are operating.
  • Medical examination: Drivers must pass a medical examination and have a valid medical certificate on file to ensure they are physically qualified to operate a CMV.
  • Background check: Drivers must undergo a background check to ensure they do not have a history of serious violations or crimes that would disqualify them from operating a CMV.
  • Training: Companies must provide their drivers with proper training in the safe operation of their vehicles, as well as compliance with federal and state regulations.
  • Compliance with state regulations: Drivers must comply with state regulations and have the proper credentials to operate in each state they will be crossing.

It is important to note that these regulations apply to all drivers operating CMVs in hot shot trucking, whether they are employees or independent contractors. Hot shot trucking companies must ensure that their drivers are properly qualified and certified and that they maintain accurate records of their qualifications.

Failing to comply with these regulations can result in fines and penalties for the company, as well as an increased risk of accidents and injuries.

  1. Drug and Alcohol Testing

Drug and alcohol testing is a crucial aspect of hotshot trucking safety, as it helps to ensure that drivers are not under the influence while operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations in place that mandate drug and alcohol testing for all drivers operating CMVs in hot shot trucking.

The main aspects of the FMCSA regulations for drug and alcohol testing include:

  • Pre-employment testing: Drivers must pass a drug and alcohol test before they are hired to operate a CMV in hot shot trucking.
  • Random testing: Drivers must be subject to random drug and alcohol testing throughout their employment to ensure they are not using prohibited substances.
  • Post-accident testing: Drivers must undergo drug and alcohol testing following a serious accident, regardless of fault.
  • Reasonable suspicion testing: Drivers must undergo testing if a supervisor or other company official has reasonable suspicion that the driver is under the influence.
  • Return-to-duty and follow-up testing: Drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol must pass a return-to-duty test and follow-up testing before they can return to operating a CMV.
  1. Recordkeeping

Recordkeeping is a crucial aspect of hot shot trucking safety, as it helps to ensure compliance with federal regulations and provides important information for safety audits and investigations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations in place that mandate the types of records that hotshot trucking companies must keep and how they must be maintained.

The main aspects of the FMCSA regulations for recordkeeping include:

  • Driver’s hours of service (HOS) records: Companies must keep accurate records of their drivers’ HOS, including the start and end times of each driving period, the total number of hours driven, and the total number of hours on duty.
  • Vehicle maintenance and inspection records: Companies must keep records of all inspections and maintenance performed on their vehicles, including the date, type of inspection or maintenance, and outcome.
  • Driver qualifications and certifications: Companies must keep records of their drivers’ qualifications, including their CDL, medical certificate, and any other certifications or endorsements required.
  • Drug and alcohol testing records: Companies must keep records of all drug and alcohol tests administered to their drivers, including the date, time, and results of the test.
  • Accident records: Companies must keep records of all accidents involving their vehicles, including the date, time, location, and details of the accident, as well as the names of any drivers, passengers, or other parties involved.

It is important to state that these records must be kept for a certain period of time and should be easily accessible for safety audits or investigations.

  1. Insurance

Insurance is an important aspect of hot shot trucking, as it helps to protect the company and its drivers from financial liability in case of accidents or other incidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations in place that mandate the types and levels of insurance that hotshot trucking companies must have in order to operate legally.

The main aspects of the FMCSA regulations for insurance include:

  • Liability insurance: Companies must carry liability insurance coverage to protect against third-party claims for property damage or personal injury. The minimum liability insurance coverage required is $750,000 for non-hazardous materials and $5,000,000 for hazardous materials.
  • Cargo insurance: Companies must carry cargo insurance to protect against loss or damage to the freight they are transporting. The minimum cargo insurance coverage required is $5,000 per vehicle, with higher limits for certain types of freight.
  • Physical damage insurance: Companies must carry physical damage insurance to protect against damage to their vehicles. This includes collision and comprehensive coverage.
  • Motor truck cargo insurance: This is insurance for the cargo that the company is transporting, it covers the cargo for any loss or damage.
  • Motor truck liability insurance: It covers the company and the driver for any liabilities that may occur in case of an accident.

It is important to note that these regulations apply to all types of hot shot trucking, including flatbed, step deck, and specialized hauling. Companies must ensure that they have the appropriate insurance coverage in place and that their policies are up to date. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and penalties.