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Business owners in GA ? Are you in compliance with the law?

Are you an electrician, contractor, plumber, landscaper or other business owner, commercial driver, or truck driver? Do you know if you meet the Federal Motor Carrier Services and GA Department of Driver services requirements to avoid a fine? In 1972, the State of Georgia adopted the FMSCA regulations for anyone meeting the federal requirements to drive a vehicle for a business. You are subject to FMCSA regulations if you operate any of the following types of commercial motor vehicles in the State of Georgia and if you drive interstate: A vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating (whichever is greater) of 4,537 kg (10,001 lbs.) or more (GVWR, GCWR, GVW or GCW)

  • A vehicle designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation, whether direct or indirect
  • A vehicle designed or used to transport 15 or more passengers including the driver and not used for compensation
  • Any size vehicle used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) and which require the motor vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-177). This includes INTRASTATE Hazardous Materials carriers

If you meet the above criteria, you must comply with the applicable U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) safety regulations concerning:

  • Controlled substances and alcohol testing for all persons required to possess a CDL
  • Driver qualifications (including medical exams)
  • Driving of commercial motor vehicles; parts and accessories necessary for safe operations
  • Hours of service
  • Inspection, repair and maintenance

You can find FMCSA regulations in the US GPO’s Code of Federal Regulations website. Select the most recent year, then go to Title 49, then parts 300-399. What are the common violations in the State of Georgia?

For vehicles and combinations with GVWR of 10,001 lbs. or more:

1. Vehicle identification (Name and US DOT Number)

2. No medical exam certificate

3. Using a radar detector (radar detectors are prohibited)

4. No fire extinguisher

5. No stopped vehicle warning devices (reflective triangles)

6. Driver did not do a pre-trip inspection (need not be written)

7. Driver exceeded hours-of-service limits

8. No time records kept on driver

9. No annual mechanical inspection of vehicle

10. No post-trip inspection (must be in writing and is not required to be carried on board the vehicle)

11. Trailers not equipped with required brakes, lights, and reflectors.

When do you need to have a CDL ( Commercial Driver’s License ) in the State of Georgia and what are its requirements?

In the state of Georgia, a CDL is required for any driver planning to drive the following types or combination of vehicles:

  • A combination of vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more
  • A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A single vehicle designed to transport more than 15 persons, including the driver
  • Any vehicle used in the transport of hazardous materials

Once I need a CDL, what else applies?

A: Drivers who are required to hold a Commercial Drivers License are also subject to the Alcohol and Controlled Substance (drug) Testing Requirements of 49 CFR Part 382.

If you answered yes to the above, then a physical exam done by a CERTIFIED FMSCA medical examiner is needed to obtain the medical certificate. The certificate is required in order to drive legally in the State of Georgia. Dr Meg Ann Lawson is a certified medical examiner for the FMSCA and is available for appointments. Call us at 706/546-4488 or book online at, after hours appointments may be available upon request.

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