States requiring Trip Permits For Trucks

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Last Updated on October 18, 2022 by John Robinson

Trucking is a highly regulated industry requiring many different licenses, permits, and taxes. If you do not get the appropriate permits, you will be subject to fees and penalties from the states and the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.

When you travel through a state, you must pay fees based on the miles that you have traveled through that state. In order to pay these fees, most trucking companies register through the International Registration Plan. The IRP allows owners of commercial vehicles to register their trucks under one certificate. You will receive a special license plate issued by the IRP office in your home state.

The certificate allows travel in the District of Columbia, the lower 48 states, and some parts of Canada. If you do not get an IRP certificate, you will have to buy individual trip permits in each state.

Why Trucking Companies Register With the IRP 

The IRP saves truck drivers time and money. Drivers were once required to pay a full registration fee to each state they traveled to. The IRP lets them pay one registration fee to their home office. A driver will electronically record the number of miles they have traveled through each state.

The registration is then divided between the states through which they travel. Let's say a driver travels through Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. If they spend 50% of their time in Florida and 25 % of the time in the other two states, Florida will get 50% of their registration fee, and Georgia and South Carolina will get 25% each. 

Why Would a Trucking Company Choose Not To Register with the IRP?

If a company generally only makes intrastate hauls, it would not make sense for them to register with the IRP. If a trucking company only occasionally goes out of state, it can always get temporary trip permits.

Most states require trucking companies not registered with the IRP to have a trip permit for any commercial vehicle that weighs over 26,000 pounds and has two axles. If a vehicle has three axles, it will need a trip permit no matter how much it weighs.  According to Simplex Group,  there are some states that have stricter requirements.

California 

The State of California has some of the most stringent requirements for permits. A truck carrying anything other than personal belongings must carry a permit regardless of the weight or the number of axles. 

A commercial trip permit is good for four consecutive days and costs $45. They are available at the California Department of Motor Vehicles and also sold at truck stops. You can buy them in bulk via the mail through the state of California.

New Mexico

If you have a commercial vehicle that weighs over 12,0001 pounds, you will need a trip permit in the state of New Mexico. You can purchase these trip permits online.

The cost will be determined by the weight of your vehicle. You will have to register for a weight distance tax account if you do this. The fees start at $40 for vehicles that weigh under 400 pounds and go up to $172 for a truck that weighs over 48,001. If your company is registered for five years and your vehicles are under 26,000 pounds, you will only have to pay 80% of the normal fees.

Nevada 

The state of Nevada only requires trip permits for trucks that weigh over 10,001 pounds. However, the state does have some unique rules when it comes to trip permits. 

You must purchase trip permits via a third party instead of at the state ports. A five-day permit is $25.

If you have a commercial vehicle that weighs under 26,000 pounds, you will need to get a  Nonresident Business Permit. You must purchase this permit within ten days of taking hauls through the state or face heavy fines. 

You will pay $200 for your first vehicle and $150 for all other vehicles. You may not transfer the permit or get a refund. 

Arizona

If you have a truck that weighs 12,000 pounds or more, you will need a trip permit in the state of Arizona. If you travel under 50 miles, you will pay $12 per vehicle, and if you travel farther than that, you will pay $48 for each vehicle. If your vehicle operates on two axles, you will need a trip permit in Arizona regardless of the weight.

You can purchase these permits online, in person, or through a third party. They are good for 98 hours.

Keeping up with permits can be confusing and time-consuming. So, it is best to hire a company specializing in trucking compliance to handle permits for you. When you have someone to take care of permits and other forms of compliance for you, you can concentrate on running your business. 

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