Over the Top: Bringing Passengers On Long Hauls

Strong Tie Insurance July 2, 2020 Commercial Truck Insurance

Truck drivers can be on the road for over twelve hours a day. That can get lonely, especially if they’re hundreds of miles away from their families for weeks or months at a time. Some of the truckers you meet with big personalities on television always seem to have a dog with them on their long hauls, but it’s important to speak with your commercial truck insurance provider before you bring your pet or another person on the road.

Bringing Passengers on Long Hauls

If you’re a trucker and considering bringing a passenger on long hauls, it’s important you ask the right questions and determine whether your insurance policy allows this. There are different long haul trucking insurance policies out there, so before you decide on one, make sure to know the rules for bringing someone along on your travels.

Can You Bring Passengers on Long Hauls?

First and foremost, it’s important to determine whether or not your insurance policy and the company in which you work allow you to bring passengers in your truck. Unfortunately, the USDOT does not allow passengers to be transported in a commercial vehicle unless written authorization has been granted by the motor carrier. 

This written authorization from the motor carrier must include: 

  • the name of the person being transported 
  • the date 
  • where the transportation starts and ends 

Of course, this is for transporting passengers. When it comes to having a passenger in the truck with you while you make your deliveries, things can get a little tricky.  

You are allowed to have passengers like a family member in your truck. However, you’ll have to jump through tons of hoops to make that dream a reality. Your company will have its own set of rules while the insurance company has another. Most companies have a policy in place and have the paperwork you’ll need to fill out.

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Passengers Do Not Need CDLs

While you need a CDL to drive a truck, you do not need this type of license in order to ride in the truck with a licensed truck driver. If a truck driver wants to bring a passenger, they’ll most likely have to sign some paperwork that states they will not let their passenger drive their rig. While this is often common sense, it’s best not to let any children or non-licensed adults behind the wheel of such an expensive vehicle. 

Who Can the Passenger Be?

Many people think that the passenger you bring with you has to be an immediate family member. However, there is no spousal requirement in the DOT rules for bringing passengers along on long hauls. This means that you can bring your child, friend, or girlfriend.

Minimum Age Requirements for Passengers

There is no minimum age requirement for truck passengers. However, a company can impose one in its policy. This could mean that you won’t be able to bring along your child until they are a certain age. Mostly, this will protect the company from any liability in the case there is an accident with a minor in the truck.

Number of Passengers

The DOT does not give truckers a limit for how many passengers they can take with them. However, a truck cab is not large, so it’s important to exercise good judgment. Multiple passengers could easily become a safety issue, which will turn into an insurance and company issue if you do not take the proper precautions and ensure everyone’s safety and that of your delivery.

Helping Another Motorist

If you’re helping a motorist during an emergency, you can offer them a ride into the next town so that they can get help. You may want to let dispatch know what’s going on, especially if you’re going off route to help this individual.

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Truck Driver Passenger Waiver

When considering having passengers in the vehicle, it’s important to understand your company’s policy. Many may not allow you to have an additional person in the truck with you, while others understand the long, lonely hours truckers face and may allow you a passenger. 

Always ask for a copy of the company’s rider policy so that you understand any restrictions on having passengers go on long hauls with you. While every company will differ, there are a few general things you’ll see on almost every policy: 

  • Restrictions on age
  • Whether Husband or wife only 
  • Having the DOT waiver in place
  • Passenger Health Considerations
  • Length of Trip 

Your company may also have specific exclusions or limitations on passengers, which can include: 

  • No pregnant passengers
  • No hitchhikers
  • Restrictions on age
  • Number of passengers (one at a time)

You may be faced with even more restrictions on who can ride in your truck with you, so make sure to have any of your questions answered before you allow someone to come with you. When riding with a pet, make sure to have a plan in place for it during inspections.

Required Documents for Passengers

Depending on your company’s policy, you may need to carry several documents with you or give some information to your employer before any passengers are allowed in the truck. Additional information that may be required for your passenger include: 

  • Driver’s License or ID
  • Social Security Card
  • Health Insurance Information 

If your company has a passenger program that allows its truckers to bring along a passenger, they will likely provide you with a passenger insurance policy. They know that it takes more than blasting through your favorite tunes to ward off those blues.

However, it’s best to check with the HR Department. Because there is the potential for injury around or inside of a truck and the limited coverage of cheap trucking insurance, many trucking companies will require that your passenger has their own insurance so that the company will not be liable for the passenger. 

Your passenger will also have to fill out an Indemnification Agreement. This notarized document releases the company from liability for the passenger.

What About Pets?

Many trucking companies allow drivers to bring their pets, especially dogs and cats, which make great road companions. However, pets must meet specific restrictions, including weight limits, breeds, and vaccinations before they are approved to ride with a trucker. 

Taking a pet is typically up to your discretion. If your pet cannot handle a certain route, it’s best to leave them at home.

Final Thoughts

Before you have a passenger, human, or otherwise, in your truck, it’s best to read your company’s policy carefully for allowing any type of passenger in your truck. As always, make sure your passenger won’t be a distraction so that you can get to your destination safe and sound.