Regardless of which state you obtained your CDL in, if you cross state lines then you need to be aware of and follow their driving rules.
1. Have your license and registration handy.
Before you hit the road, make sure you have the federal registration for your vehicle on hand. You should also have the DOT# for your truck. Traveling to another state without these items could lead to hefty fines and even vehicle impoundment — not something you want to deal with hundreds of miles away from home!
2. Follow shift regulations.
Though there are state regulations for how many hours you can operate a commercial vehicle, if you’re driving across multiple states then you need to follow the federal rules for consecutive hours of service.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, property-carrying drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. In addition, drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after they have driven for a period of eight cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption.
View additional guidelines for hours-of-service at FMCSA.
3. Know the age requirements.
States differ in their age requirements for obtaining a CDL. Under federal law, however, drivers under the age of 21 cannot operate a commercial vehicle across state lines. For this reason, CDL drivers under the age of 21 must stick to intrastate driving.
4. California police are more strict with truck drivers than other states.
California is a large state and an important one for commerce, with its multiple ports and Mexican border. Understandably, law enforcement is particularly strict with truck drivers. Highway police will check a truck top to bottom and front to back, and examine log books to ensure drivers are following the rules.
5. Refuel before you get to California to keep your gas bill low.
California is also notorious for its steep gas prices. If you’re coming to California, refuel before reaching state borders or you’ll pay extra at the pump. On the other hand, if you’re leaving California, find a gas station just outside of the state’s borders to completely fill up your tank.