As a truck business owner, you always have to deal with a lot in business, including the legal dynamics in the industry. At one point or another, you will need to make decisions or transactions that require some legal knowledge. Yes, from matters of contracts or navigating cross-border issues, there are critical legal issues that you should keep an eye on. Let’s look at some critical legal aspects you ought to know, especially if you are new in the truck business.
Top Legal issues you should know
Licenses and permits
Like any other business, running a truck business requires that you get the right licenses from your local authorities. This gives you the legality and permission to operate your business under the law. You should thus ensure that you check with the local authorities to establish the licenses you need to get your business up and running. For example, you need to ensure your drivers have a commercial license. Moreover, if you are to haul cargo in the US, then you will need to apply for the Federal DOT and the motor carrier (MC) number. Well, it depends on where you are but the bottomline is that you need to have all the required licenses and permits to avoid issues with the authorities.
If you are in a truck business dealing with food, then you should be aware of the food regulations about health and safety. For example, the FDA under the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005 and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, requires that any shipper follows the guidelines set to reduce the risk of food becoming contaminated during transportation. Some of the guidelines include training your drivers on food safety, keeping proper records on shipments, and ensuring the equipment meets the standards, etc.
One other significant legal issue pertains to workplace injuries. For example, your truck can get in an accident that causes damages, injuries, and even worse, death! This quick guide compiled by a truck accident attorney in Jackson MS explains more on the legal side of these types of accidents. Generally speaking, though, you should ensure your employees are given a safe workplace environment, including keeping your vehicles well maintained to avoid injuries.
Cross-border legal issues
When your trucks transport goods from one geographic jurisdiction to another, it automatically means that you are entering locations that might have new transportation rules. You should make sure to be familiar with the legal procedures of shipping across countries or states and the legal documents you will need to avoid interrupting operations or getting bans that might lead to losing customers or even business.
There is also that aspect of liability, especially when it comes to cargo crime, that’s quite common in the trucking business. Your goods might be stolen, for example, but who will incur the liability in this case? You should know what your insurance can and can’t cover before shipping any goods. This will help you establish liability and hence devise the right security measures for your business.
Last but not least, it is necessary to be familiar with laws governing the employment of truck drivers and others in the business. You should understand the laws that affect your relationship and engagement with your employees to avoid lawsuits. Know their rights as well as your own as a business. For example, your employees have a right to health insurance, minimum wage, workplace safety, social security, etc.
The success of your truck business depends on how you play your cards to beat your competitors. One of the ways to do so is to understand the laws in the industry. You should try as much as you can to familiarize yourself with laws that affect your trucking business to avoid unanticipated charges and losses, plus you can also spot new opportunities and threats to your business.