Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about long haul trucking regulations and permits?

Check out our FAQ below or get in touch and our safety and compliance consultants will answer any questions you may have.

Safety and compliance regulations have been put in place by the NSC (Canada) and the FMCSA (USA) to protect the public through maintaining the safety and security of the countries’ transportation system.

Not properly complying with their standards can result in heavy financial implications – fines, license withdrawals, or in the worst cases forced closure of a business.
Meanwhile, maintaining a good safety rating through proper compliance can result in benefits as well, such as getting accepted into the PIP/C-TPAT Programs.

Want to see how your business can benefit from compliance? Chat with us today!

All carriers operating in Canada must have a Safety Fitness Certificate and keep an acceptable Safety Fitness Rating.

Need to apply for a Safety Fitness Certificate? We can help.

There are 16 NSC standards that all carriers must abide by (we’ve split it into 2 sections – those relevant for carriers and those that are not):

Standards you need to know well

Carrier and Driver Profiles
Maintains and shares safety & compliance performance records of drivers and carriers to jurisdictions. It supports activities to remove drivers and carriers that don’t meet the standards from service.

Short-Term Suspension
Defines the criteria that leads to putting a driver out of service on a short-term, 24 hour basis. Applies when an officer has good reason to believe that the driver has been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Hours of Service
Describes the number of hours a commercial driver can be on-duty and driving a commercial vehicle each day/shift. Drivers often violate hours of service rules, so make sure your safety officer/compliance agency trains the drivers well.

Cargo Securement
Outlines the requirements for securing cargo onto vehicles to prevent objects shifting around or spilling onto the roads.

Commercial Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection (PMVI)
Vehicle maintenance and inspection requirements.

Commercial Vehicle Safety (CVSA) On-Road Inspections
Contains on-road inspection criteria. You must ensure your drivers are trained and well prepared for these inspections.

Trip Inspection
Every day, your drivers must perform a trip inspection that meets these requirements. The purpose is to identify potential vehicle problems/defects early, to prevent operating vehicles that may be dangerous on the road. It protects not only your drivers, but you as a carrier from major mechanical problems.

Safety Rating
A scoring system that analyzes the safety performance of your carrier. Learn how to improve your fleet’s safety rating here.

Facility Audits
Audit processes that different jurisdictions use to determine whether or not a carrier has complied with all applicable safety standards. Audit findings may lead to suspension of your business – that’s why Frontline helps clients prepare for these audits by performing our own internal audits to find and fix any potential gaps in your operations.

Self-Certification Standards and Procedures
Minimum requirements to allow carriers and driver training schools to train commercial drivers.

If this feels overwhelming, don’t worry. Our team of safety consultants are here to help ensure you are in compliance with any or all of these carrier safety standards. Get in touch with us today!

Standards that are less relevant

Single Driver License Concept
Drivers must not hold more than one license, and that all driving infractions are tied to a single license and record.

Driver Knowledge and Performance Tests
These tests indicate that applicants have the required basic knowledge and driving skills to safely operate their respective vehicles within Canada.

Driver Examiner Training Program
This program and standard ensures that the driver examiner has sufficient knowledge and meets the proper skills training requirements to conduct licensing tests. An emphasis is placed on road and practical testing.

Driver Licensing Classification
This standard designates various classes of vehicles for driver licensing and the knowledge/skill requirements to safely operate the vehicle in Canada.

Carrier and Driver Profiles
Maintains and shares safety & compliance performance records of drivers and carriers to jurisdictions. It supports activities to remove drivers and carriers that don’t meet the standards from service.

Commercial Truck Driver Entry level Training (Class 1) – New standard as of January 2020
Ensures that proper and consistent training has been completed before providing licenses to Class 1 commercial truck drivers.


You will need to contact the Ministry of Transportation/Infrastructure for your province and apply for an NSC Certificate #. Alternatively, our safety consultants can take care of the process for you.

FMCSA is the governing body in the US that monitors and ensures that carriers abide by safety and compliance regulations, similar to the NSC in Canada.

To apply for a DOT and MC number, you can visit their site here: – ensure you provide 100% accurate information in the application, or let us take care of it for you.


For the most part, the driver statuses are quite similar across both countries (On-Duty, Driving, Sleeper Berth).

However, specifics for each rules including hours allowed are vastly different, and the US has the addition of Short Haul Exemptions and Mandatory Breaks.

If you’d like to learn more about the hours of service rules, we found a helpful article here.

Make sure that your drivers and safety officers know the rules inside out, and that they are equipped with an ELD that makes staying compliant very simple.

International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is a method for carriers to appropriately file and pay quarterly fuel taxes to their home base state/province.

To get started, you must register for the IFTA program and receive an IFTA decal/sticker – generally this is free or under $30 depending on the issuing state or province.

Filing IFTA requires you to accurately record and measure the miles each of your drivers have driven in each state, and the amount of fuel purchased in each state. The method in which you monitor these mileages and report them can be audited, so it is important to have a process that is robust and audit proof, to prevent you from incurring large penalties.

Our consultants have years of experience taking care of IFTA reports for carriers with no audit findings – if you’re interested in seeing what we can do for you, get in touch with us here!

In the US, there are 4 states that require special permits in order to operate:

New York (HUT – Highway Use Tax Permit)
  • For trucks with a gross weight over 18,000 pounds, or trucks with an unloaded weigh over 8,000 pounds. *Exceptions may apply if you only operate in the state occasionally – in which case you will need a trip certificate of registration.
Kentucky (KYU – Weight Distance Permit)
  • Required for any trucks with a total license weight over 59,999 pounds.pounds.
New Mexico (WDT – Weigh Distance Tax Permit)
  • Required for commercial vehicles with a gross weight over 26,000 pounds
  • Commercial vehicles weighing over 55,000 pounds are subject to an additional HVUT – Heavy Vehicle Use Tax
Oregon (Trip Permit)
  • Heavy Motor Vehicle Permit – Combined weight over 10,000 pounds
  • Heavy Trailer Trip Permit – Trailers with a loaded weight over 8000 pounds
  • Over-dimension Permit – Additional Permit for vehicles weighing over 80,000 pounds

Think of C-TPAT as the Nexus of long haul trucking.

Becoming a certified partner solidifies an agreement of the company with the CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) in order to preserve the integrity of the supply chain, including the implementation of security measures.

The process of getting approved to join the program requires a long process of addressing a range of security topics and building action plans to ensure alignment with supply chain security.

Your company also must be considered ‘low-risk’, which will make it much less likely for you to get inspected at a port of entry.

Some of the core benefits of becoming a CTPAT Partner are:

  • Much lower number of CBP examinations
  • Shortened border wait times
  • Ability to use the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes
  • Heightened priority after a natural disaster/terrorist attack
    and more
If you are interested in applying and getting into the C-TPAT Partners program, our consultants can help simplify and speed up the application and risk assessment processes. To learn more, get in touch with us here.


PIP is the Canadian version of the C-TPAT Partners program.

It is run by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) with the end goal of improving border and supply chain security, and to prevent organized crime, terrorism, and smuggling.

Benefits of becoming a partner in the program include but are not limited to:

  • Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program
  • Significantly less inspections due to reduced Automated Targeting System (ATS) scoring.
  • Improved low-risk reputation among other companies
  • Eligibility for expedited cross-border shipments through the FAST program.
  • Inspections are provided priority at the front of the line.
Becoming a PIP member will offer your business not only efficiency but a strong trustworthy reputation that will provide your customers peace of mind.
Our safety consultants have helped countless companies apply and get accepted to the PIP – chat with us to see how we can do the same for you.

Get in touch with us!

We’d love to learn more about your business and share ideas on how to improve your safety & compliance measures.