Georgia trucking laws ensure the safe operation of commercial trucks on public roads and minimize the damage that commercial trucks can cause to road infrastructure. However, violations of Georgia trucking regulations can lead to devastating road accidents. Disregarding trucking regulations may result in trucks ending up in an unsafe condition or drivers becoming unable to operate their vehicles safely.

If you’ve suffered injuries in a truck crash resulting from a truck driver’s or trucking company’s regulatory violations, you deserve to seek financial compensation. With Bayuk Pratt, you get the experienced legal representation you need to manage the claims process and prove that regulatory violations caused the crash.

With over 50 years of combined legal experience and more than $300 million in recovered compensation for accident victims, we know what it takes to win high-stakes injury cases. As former senior partners in top defense law firms, founding attorneys Frank Bayuk and Bradley Pratt have seen firsthand how insurance companies and corporations fight injury claims. Today, we use their insight to provide clients with unique advantages that allow us to stand up for their rights and interests.

Contact Bayuk Pratt today for a free initial case review to discuss your legal options in a truck accident injury case.

Georgia Truck Speed Limits

Georgia law imposes maximum speed limits for different types of roads, which all vehicles, including commercial trucks, must follow unless a road has a different posted maximum speed limit. Georgia truck speed limits include:

  • 30 miles per hour in residential or urban districts
  • 35 miles per hour on unpaved county roads
  • 65 miles per hour on urban interstates or multi-lane divided highways
  • 70 miles per hour on rural interstates
  • 55 miles per hour on all other roads

Georgia Truck Weight Limits

Georgia truck weight limits ensure that commercial trucks do not damage road infrastructure with excessive weight. Trucks, including their cargo, must weigh less than 80,000 pounds. In addition, trucks must also follow per-axle weight limits and meet the bridge formula, which determines the maximum weight that groups of axles can bear.

For interstate highways, the legal axle weight is 20,340 pounds. Tandem axles, which are two or more axles within 96 inches, have different weight limits depending on the gross weight and length of the truck:

  • Gross weight under 73,280 pounds and length greater than 55 feet: 40,680 pounds
  • Gross weight greater than 73,280 pounds and length greater than 55 feet: 34,000 pounds

For state routes, weight limits include:

  • Maximum gross weight on five or more axles: 80,000 pounds
  • Maximum gross weight on four axles: 70,000 pounds
  • Maximum gross weight on two or three axles: 20,340 pounds times the number of axles

Trucks with a gross weight of over 73,280 pounds must follow the state bridge formula.

On county roads, trucks must weigh 56,000 pounds or less unless making a pickup or delivery. Trucks weighing more than 56,000 pounds traveling on county roads to make pickups or deliveries must provide bills of lading or shipping orders upon request of law enforcement or regulatory authorities.

Georgia Height, Width, and Length Rules for Trucks

In Georgia, trucks must meet height, width, and length restrictions. On the National Highway System, size limitations include:

  • Height (of truck and load): 13 feet, six inches
  • Width (of truck and load): Eight feet, six inches
  • Length: 53 feet for a trailer unit, 28 feet per trailer for twin trailer combinations, overall limit of 100 feet

On the state-designated system, size limitations include:

  • Height (of truck and load): 13 feet, six inches
  • Width (of truck and load): Eight feet, six inches
  • Length: 53 feet for a trailer unit, 28 feet per trailer for twin trailer combinations, overall limit of 100 feet

Trucks that exceed height, width, or length restrictions must obtain an oversized permit to operate on Georgia roads and highways. Permits ensure that trucks follow roads large enough to accommodate the truck and its load. Oversized trucks may also have to limit operations to specific hours and days.

Georgia CDL Requirements

Anyone who wishes to drive a commercial truck in Georgia must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Georgia issues three classes of CDLs depending on the type and configuration of the vehicle the driver wishes to operate. Drivers may also have to obtain license endorsements to operate specific vehicle types or haul certain types of cargo.

Requirements to apply for a CDL and operate a commercial truck in Georgia include:

  • Age Requirements – Applicants must be 18 to apply for a CDL. However, CDL holders under 21 may only operate in Georgia. They can have the Georgia-only restriction removed from their CDL on their 21st birthday.
  • License Requirements – Applicants must hold a valid Georgia driver’s license and obtain and hold a Commercial Instructional Permit for at least 14 days before applying for a full CDL.
  • Endorsement Requirements – Applicants or current CDL holders who wish to add endorsements to their license, such as a double/triple trailer (T) or tanker (N) endorsement, must complete knowledge tests.
  • Hazmat Transportation Requirements – CDL holders wishing to add a hazmat endorsement (H) to their license must pass a knowledge test and a TSA background check and submit to fingerprinting for initial issuances and renewals.
  • Georgia Load Securement Rules for Trucks – Federal regulations specify performance criteria for devices and systems that secure cargo on or within a vehicle. The regulations also require that truck drivers and trucking companies use tie-downs in a manner that prevents them from becoming loose or unfastened during travel and use edge protection to prevent abrasions or cuts to tie-down devices.
  • Requirements for Truck Owners and Fleet Managers – Trucking regulations also require truck owners or fleet managers to keep maintenance and repair records for all vehicles under their control. They must also retain those records for six months after a vehicle leaves the owner’s control through a sale, trade-in, or other ownership transfer.
  • Trucking Insurance Coverage Requirements – Under Georgia regulations, motor carriers must have insurance coverage that includes, at a minimum, $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident of bodily injury/death liability coverage, $50,000 per accident of property damage liability coverage, and cargo insurance of $25,000 for loss of property carried on one vehicle and $50,000 for aggregate loss in an accident.

All entry-level drivers, including drivers upgrading an existing Class B CDL to Class A, must complete entry-level driver training approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Federal Trucking Regulations

Federal hours-of-service regulations limit truck drivers’ hours on duty and behind the wheel to prevent fatigued driving. These hours-of-service rules include:

  • Drivers may drive up to 11 hours per shift following an off-duty period of at least 10 consecutive hours.
  • Drivers may not drive after the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty following an off-duty period of at least 10 consecutive hours. Drivers may not extend the 14-hour period with breaks or off-duty time.
  • Drivers must take at least a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours without an interruption of at least 30 minutes. Drivers may spend their breaks on duty but not driving, off duty, or in their sleeper berth.
  • Drivers may not drive after spending 60 hours on duty in a seven-day period or 70 hours on duty in an eight-day period. The seven- and eight-day periods reset after an off-duty period of at least 34 consecutive hours.
  • Drivers may split their 10-hour off-duty period as long as one period lasts at least two hours and the other involves at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
  • Drivers may extend by up to two hours the 11- and 14-hour limits when encountering adverse driving conditions.

The hours-of-service regulations do not apply to truck drivers operating within a 150-air-mile radius of their usual work reporting location if the driver spends no more than 14 hours on duty and returns to their work reporting location at the end of their shift.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a robust range of regulations in place that guide trucking operations in Georgia and nationwide. Some of the other important federal trucking regulations include:

  • Medical Exams – Most truck drivers must undergo a medical examination performed by a USDOT-approved physician to evaluate their fitness to operate a commercial truck. The exam may include physical and vision testing and tests for chronic conditions like diabetes.
  • Drug Testing – Federal regulations require trucking companies to test all newly hired truck drivers and to implement a random drug and alcohol testing policy. Truck drivers may have to submit to alcohol and drug testing after truck accidents that result in injuries or fatalities. Truck drivers found to be operating a commercial truck while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or higher may face DUI charges.
  • Texting While Driving – Truck drivers must use mobile phones in a hands-free mode or may not press more than one button on the phone to initiate or terminate a phone call.