Truck Permits California

From Liability to Cargo, we keep you covered

Owning a trucking company in the state of California can be lucrative, but it can also be challenging. In addition to making sure that your drivers are qualified and your trucks are safe for travel, you have to make sure that you have all the necessary permits to operate your vehicles in your state. Simplex Group will ensure you have all the proper permits to operate your trucking business in California.

What Permits and Licenses Do I Need to Operate in California?

The number of permits you need will depend on the weight of your hauls and where you take them. It will also depend on the kind of cargo you are carrying. If your drivers cross state lines and your trucks meet the following criteria, you are under the authority of the FMCSA ( Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration): 

  • It is used to transport hazardous materials in quantities that require a safety permit in intrastate commerce.
  • It has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or greater. The higher weight will be considered the actual weight.
  • It is used to transport eight passengers or more for money. This includes the driver. 
  • It is used to carry more than 15 people, but not for compensation.
  • It is used for interstate commerce. 

If you are under the authority of the FMCSA, you must obtain a number from the Department of Transportation. You cannot operate until a DOT number has been issued.

Photo of a man checking permit

Commercial Driver’s Licenses

A trucking company may only employ or contract drivers who have a commercial driver’s license. Drivers who cross state lines during their commute must be over 21. You should have a file on each of your drivers verifying that their license is in good standing. If a driver is between 18 and 21, they will only be able to drive intrastate hauls.

International Fuel Tax Agreement License

When a truck travels through any state, it must pay fuel taxes to that state. The International Fuel Tax Agreement License allows a trucking company to pay what it owes to several states with one single payment.

It used to be that trucking companies had to register with each state they traveled through individually. They would have to pay the taxes that they owed to each state individually as well. Most states expected to have a return filed quarterly, which was very time-consuming. It was confusing for the trucking companies and the jurisdictions to whom they owed taxes.

The International Fuel Tax Agreements’ goal was to make fuel taxes easy to pay. Trucking companies simply register all of their trucks with their local IFTA office. 

When a truck driver fuels up, they will record how much fuel they have purchased and the miles that they have traveled through the state. The state charges taxes based on the amount of fuel purchased and miles traveled. Instead of paying each state individually, a company will file a return with the IFTA office every quarter. The IFTA will give each state its due.

International Registration Plan Trip Permit

In addition to charging fuel taxes for trucking companies, most states require that truckers have trip permits to drive through their state. At one time, a trucking company had to register for a permit with each state. Each state would provide a sticker that would go on the vehicle’s license plate. This was not an effective way of getting things done.

The International Registration Plan is a bit like the International Fuel Tax Agreement in that it provides trucking companies with one convenient place to pay their permit fees. You will pay fees quarterly to your local IRP office, and they will be in charge of distributing those fees to the appropriate state. Your permit fees are often based on the weight of the truck, and the mileage traveled.

Requirements for Intrastate Carriers

Although a truck that only operates within the state of California does not fall under the authority of the FMCSA, there are still some permits a trucking company needs to commercially operate motor vehicles in the Golden State. 

Household goods and passenger carriers must have a permit issued by the California Public Utilities Commission. They are required to display the number on the power unit of their vehicle. There is a fee to get the permit, and you must provide the state with a list of equipment in the truck along with proof that the vehicle is insured. The California vehicle code mandates that the truck is in good working order. 

Intrastate household goods carriers and passenger vehicles that are used for profit are regulated by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and must have a Motor Carrier Permit with a carrier identification number. The permit is issued by the California DMV.  You will have to get this permit if your trucks:

  • Have a more than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating.
  • Have a combined length of 40 feet or more
  • Are used for transporting hazardous materials
  • Have two-axle truck tractors.

A commercial vehicle used to transport property for money is usually required to have a Motor Carrier Permit.

There are a few different types of trucks that are exempt from Motor Carriers permits, including:

  •  Non-commercial pickup trucks 
  • Medium weight rentals
  • RVs

Intrastate carriers need a California Identification number issued by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). The state of California requires intrastate trucks to have a USDOT number. You must have a USDOT number to obtain a California Identification Number.

Why You Should Hire Simplex Group

With over 20 years in the trucking business, Simplex Group knows exactly what permits are required for your trucking company. We want you to succeed, and we will make sure that you are fully compliant before you even open your doors. 

We will make sure that your vehicle registration fees are paid, and if one of your drivers has a motor vehicle accident, we will ensure that it is documented properly.

We know how dangerous California’s highways can be and will ensure that you have the workers’ compensation and liability insurance you need to operate your business safely. When you partner with Simplex Group, your insurance forms will always be turned in on time. We will ensure that your commercial vehicles are registered properly and get all your paperwork ready for your New Entrant Audit. We consider your success to be our success, and we look forward to building your business. Give us a call now!