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Virginia Trucking Laws

Virginia Trucking Laws and Federal Trucking Laws

Trucking is a significant part of the economy in Virginia, with thousands of commercial vehicles traversing the state’s highways and byways every day. Whether you’re a truck driver or an employer, it’s essential to understand the federal laws that govern interstate trucking operations and any unique regulations specific to Virginia. This article provides an overview of what you need to know about Virginia’s trucking laws so that you can stay compliant with both state and federal requirements.

Overview of Virginia Trucking Laws

Virginia law adheres to the same federal trucking regulations as all other states. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in charge of creating, updating, and enforcing these laws regarding inter-state transportation. In addition to FMCSA regulations, Virginia also has its own set of laws that govern the operation of commercial vehicles within the state. These include rules regarding driver’s licensing requirements, trucking company requirements, vehicle safety and maintenance standards, and insurance qualifications.

Virginia Truck Safety and Equipment Requirements

  • Drivers must possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL).
  • Vehicles must be registered with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and display proper registration plates.
  • All vehicles must pass annual inspections to ensure compliance with safety standards and equipment requirements set by the FMCSA and state law.
  • Vehicle operators must always carry proof of insurance coverage for their trucks while traveling in Virginia.
  • Loads must be adequately secured, using tie-downs or chains, when transporting materials over public roads in Virginia to prevent shifting during transit and protect other drivers from hazardous debris on the roadway due to an unsecured load.
  • Trucks operating within Virginia are subject to additional weight restriction laws due to specific bridge designs; these regulations can differ depending on the exact route being traveled through the state, so all truckers must check local ordinances before departing on any trip involving a potentially affected area of travel within Virginia’s borders before leaving home base or pickup location(s).

Federal Hours of Service Regulations

Interstate truckers must adhere to the federal hours of service (HOS) regulations when operating their vehicles in Virginia. These regulations limit how long a driver can be behind the wheel and require that they take regular rest breaks throughout any given workday. Failure to comply with HOS regulations can result in serious fines or other penalties for the operator or their employer.

Virginia Traffic Violations

Truckers operating within Virginia are subject to the same traffic laws as other drivers on the road, with violations resulting in fines, points being assessed against the driver’s record (with a set number of points leading to license suspension), and/or potential jail time depending on the severity of the violation. Trucks must adhere to the posted speed limits throughout Virginia, and commercial vehicles are not exempt from any traffic signals or signs in the state.

Virginia Alcohol and Drug Testing Requirements

In order to protect other drivers on the road, truckers operating within Virginia are subject to random drug and alcohol testing by their employers. Refusal to submit to a requested test can result in severe penalties, including loss of employment and potential jail time. Drivers must also adhere to the same open container laws as other motorists in Virginia while operating their trucks.

Requirements for Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) in Virginia

Virginia follows the federal regulations regarding CDLs. In order to obtain a CDL in Virginia:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a CDL in Virginia.
  • You must have a valid driver’s license from Virginia or another state.
  • You must pass a vision screening and a hearing test.
  • You must pass a drug and alcohol screening.
  • You must pass a knowledge test and a skills test.

Additionally, you must have completed an approved driver training program and be medically certified by a licensed medical examiner that you meet all health qualifications to operate commercial motor vehicles.


CDLs in Virginia expire after four years. You can renew your CDL up to six months before it expires.


In addition to a basic CDL, you may also need to get one or more endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles. For example, if you want to drive a vehicle that carries hazardous materials, you will need to get the hazardous materials endorsement.

Rules and Regulations Regarding Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection in Virginia

Any vehicle used for interstate commercial purposes must be regularly inspected and maintained according to the standards set forth by the FMCSA.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has published a list of items that must be inspected on commercial vehicles. These items include:

  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Lights
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • Engine

If a truck operates in interstate commerce, however, they have met the state requirements if they follow the federal inspection regulations set by the FMSCA.

Commercial vehicle drivers are responsible for ensuring that their vehicles are properly maintained. They should keep a maintenance log and have their vehicles inspected regularly by a qualified mechanic.

Trucking companies may also require drivers to make a visual inspection of their vehicles before and after each trip. In addition, every truck or trailer must have a valid vehicle identification number that is displayed and visible at all times while it is operated.

Insurance Requirements in Virginia

Liability Insurance: for both physical damage coverage as well as bodily injury coverage for any person who may be affected by an accident caused by a commercial vehicle.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: for any truck drivers or their passengers who are affected by an accident involving a vehicle that is uninsured or underinsured.

Cargo Insurance: for any truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.

Truck drivers and their employers must also provide proof of insurance coverage at all times while traveling in Virginia. Failure to carry appropriate insurance can result in fines, license suspension, or other penalties.

Cargo Weight Restrictions in Virginia

The FMCSA has established federal regulations regarding cargo weight limits for commercial trucks.

  • Single axle weight: Virginia’s maximum single axle weight is 20,000 pounds.
  • Tandem axle weight: Virginia’s maximum tandem axle weight is 34,000 pounds.
  • Gross vehicle weight: Virginia’s maximum gross vehicle weight is 80,000 pounds.

There are also a number of other restrictions that may apply, such as restrictions for vehicles that are transporting hazardous materials or oversized loads. Additionally, all loads must be evenly distributed and safely secured to prevent shifting or falling while in transit.

Hours of Service Regulations for Truckers in Virginia

The FMCSA also sets rules and regulations regarding how many hours a driver can operate their vehicle on any given day or week. In the trucking industry, drivers often suffer from overwork and fatigue due to long hours behind the wheel. To combat this, Virginia requires that truckers take regular rest breaks throughout any given shift to ensure their safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.

14-Hour Rule: Truck drivers may not drive after the 14th consecutive hour they are on duty. This means that they can drive for up to 14 hours after starting their shift, but they must then take at least 10 hours off duty before they can drive again.

10-Hour Break Rule: Truck drivers must take a break of at least ten consecutive hours off duty after driving for 10 hours. This break can be taken anytime during the day or night, but it must be at least 10 hours long.

30-Minute Break Rule: Truck drivers must take a break of at least 30 minutes after driving for eight consecutive hours. This break can be taken anytime during the day or night, but it must be at least 30 minutes long.

70/80-Hour Rule: Truck drivers may not drive after being on duty for 70 hours in a seven-day period or 80 hours in an eight-day period. This means that they must take at least 34 consecutive hours off duty after working for 70 or 80 hours.

Penalties for Violations of Virginia Trucking Laws

Violations of Virginia and federal trucking laws can result in serious consequences. Fines and other penalties may be imposed if a driver or employer is found to be in violation of any applicable federal or state regulations. Additionally, the Virginia State Police have the authority to suspend or revoke a commercial driver’s license if they are found to be operating a vehicle unsafely or recklessly.

Trucking Laws for the Safety of All

Trucking is an important part of both the federal and state economy in Virginia, providing goods and services that benefit many people throughout the state. Understanding both the federal and Virginia trucking laws is essential for anyone involved in the industry. By staying up-to-date with all applicable regulations, truck drivers and employers alike can ensure they are operating safely and in compliance with both state and federal law.

Injured in a Trucking Accident? We Can Help.

The truck accident lawyers of Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci have extensive experience helping victims of truck accidents receive the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one have been injured in a trucking accident, contact us today to discuss your legal options. We are here to help you get the justice and financial recovery that you deserve.

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