Passenger Authorization Form, this is important for the motor carrier and the driver/passenger

The most recent debate I was pulled into involved truck drivers transporting passengers. No big deal, right? It's Summer time, and the spouce, children, or another family member wants to tag along with you while you are working. There is nothing wrong with this, right?

Wrong. The FMCSA requires that all passengers be authorized by the Motor Carrier. See below:

§392.60 Unauthorized persons not to be transported.

Trucking paperwork.jpg

(a) Unless specifically authorized in writing to do so by the motor carrier under whose authority the commercial motor vehicle is being operated, no driver shall transport any person or permit any person to be transported on any commercial motor vehicle other than a bus. When such authorization is issued, it shall state the name of the person to be transported, the points where the transportation is to begin and end, and the date upon which such authority expires. No written authorization, however, shall be necessary for the transportation of:

(1) Employees or other persons assigned to a commercial motor vehicle by a motor carrier;

(2) Any person transported when aid is being rendered in case of an accident or other emergency;

(3) An attendant delegated to care for livestock.

(b) This section shall not apply to the operation of commercial motor vehicles controlled and operated by any farmer and used in the transportation of agricultural commodities or products thereof from his/her farm or in the transportation of supplies to his/her farm.

[60 FR 38747, July 28, 1995]

Guidance? Here you go!

Question 1: Does §392.60 require a driver to carry a copy of the written authorization (required to transport passengers) on board a Commercical Motor Vehicle (CMV)?

No, the authorization must be maintained at the carrier’s principal place of business. At the discretion of the motor carrier, a driver may also carry a copy of the authorization.

But, is this regulation really important? The answer to this question is a bit complicated.

First of all, if you are an owner-operator and leased to a carrier, you need to know what the rules and regulations are that you are bound to by your carrier. If the carrier that you are leased to doesn't allow passengers, or limits the number of passengers, or limits the age of passengers, you need to know these details. The smallest incident, even something as small as you not being able to access a facility to load or unload due to the passenger onboard could result in the cancellation of your lease.

Do I have your attention now?

Let's go further. Traveling 100k miles per year on the highways today is not a safe job. The chance of being involved in an accident, whether it is your fault or not, is substantial. Remember that passenger you didn't get authorized by the carrier? Who pays for the injuries to that person? Don't be surprised if your health insurance has an "out" for this type of situation. In addition, "plan" on your carrier having an out to this situation.

An injury from a trucking accident can be very costly. Without the carrier holding responsibility and without your insurance accepting responsibility, you are now stuck with what could be a huge medical expense.

I got authorization for my passenger(s) now what?

Most likely, the passenger authorization will be an attempt to exempt the motor carrier from any and all responsibilities if the event a passenger is injured. That said, they did authorize the passenger, so you may have some sort of leverage in the event of an accident. I'm not saying your passenger is now covered, I am simply saying you do have documentation that your carrier authorized the passenger to be on the truck. It becomes a battle between you and the carrier, and the carrier vs. the insurance company at this point.

From a Motor Carrier standpoint

See what was posted above, and if you are going to allow passengers, create your authorization form accordingly based on your insurance guidelines. These rules need to be in your handbook and need to be signed by your company drivers and owner-operators. There needs to be no confusion as to whether you require this or not. I can't say it will save you in a lawsuit, but it will be factored into the litigation process.

If you are looking for a motor carrier passenger authorization form, many places can prove it. You may need to consult your insurance company regarding what you go with, but a form is available via many trucking organizations, or you can draw one up with the guidance of your company's attorney.

In this article, I am attaching the most recent Passenger Authorization Form that I have received from OOIDA. Use this at your own risk, as I always recommend seeking the advice of an attorney on any legal document.


  • Passenger Authorization Form.pdf
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