Truck drivers must comply with federal regulations and any state regulations that are stricter than federal requirements. Truck drivers must have a driver’s license issued by the state in which they live, and most employers require a clean driving record. Drivers of trucks designed to carry 26,000 pounds or more—including most tractor-trailers, as well as bigger straight trucks—must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the state in which they live. All truck drivers who operate trucks transporting hazardous materials must obtain a CDL, regardless of truck size. Federal regulations governing the CDL exempt certain groups, including farmers, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, some military drivers, and snow and ice removers. In many states, a regular driver’s license is sufficient for driving light trucks and vans.
The U.S. Department of Transportation governs work hours and other working conditions of truck drivers engaged in interstate commerce. A long-distance driver cannot work more than 60 hours in any 7-day period. Federal regulations also require that truckers rest 10 hours for every 11 hours of driving.