Speed limiters, automatic emergency braking, the Department of Labor’s definition of “employee” … fleet managers must keep up to date with changes in these federal regulations and many others. They are important. So, too, are a whole other set of regulatory changes – those at the state level.

Some state-level regulations capture national attention, such as California’s Advance Clean Fleets requirements that have trucking companies pondering how to operate with battery-powered trucks and a limited recharging infrastructure. Other state-level regulations rank as more mundane… speed limits, truck routes, fuel tax rates, truck registration fees, and toll road charges may all change at the state level. Often, changes in state laws and regulations go into effect on Jan. 1 of a new year.

Mundane or not, state regulations impact motor carrier safety and compliance. Commercial vehicle law enforcement officers routinely check a truck’s registration and fuel tax compliance. Drivers, professional or otherwise, compromise safety if they do not adjust to new speed limits.

How can owner operator truck drivers and truck fleet managers keep track of regulatory changes across all 50 U.S. states and the ten Canadian provinces, not to mention the myriad local jurisdictions? It can be a daunting task, depending on the scope of your operations. Here’s a quick guide to keep your operation safe and legal:

State truck registration fee levels: Contact your state department of motor vehicles or the International Registration Plan (IRP).

State fuel tax levels: Contact your state fuel tax administrator (department of revenue or department of finance) or the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA).

State speed limits: Contact your state department of transportation (state DOT), any of several websites which monitor truck speed limits, such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,  J.J. Keller, or your state trucking association. Remember that weather, traffic, and road conditions dictate the safe speed, and road maintenance/construction activity may limit the legal maximum speed on any road.

State truck routes: Contact the state department of transportation for questions about any routing changes. If you have a terminal network, your local terminal manager can secure relevant details. As with truck speed limits, road maintenance and construction activity may affect truck routes.

Toll road charges: Contact the toll roads/turnpikes where you operate, the electronic toll payment provider your company utilizes, such as PrePass Tolls, or an online truck toll calculator. Remember: truck tolls can differ by time of day, truck combination type, length, and height.

If your company belongs to a state trucking association, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) or the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), all employ professionals that are always ready to help answer your questions.

One other place to contact is your state police. “When I served with the California Highway Patrol, I truly appreciated calls from safety-conscious fleet managers and truck drivers, asking what was new,” says Steve Vaughn, senior vice president of field operations for PrePass Safety Alliance. “I could recite the state-level regulatory changes and add practical advice.”

The bottom line is that new state rules for trucking are just as important as federal ones. After all, new regulations aren’t just about compliance, they’re also about safety.

The PrePass blog and podcasts are published as a public service of PrePass®, the most reliable and technologically advanced weigh station bypass and integrated electronic trucking toll payment platform in North America. PrePass also includes INFORM™ Safety and INFORM™ Tolling software for improving truck safety scores and lowering toll costs.