The Importance of Permit Books in the Trucking Business

The Importance of Permit Books in the Trucking Business

What are permit books?

Permit books are one of the best fleet management tools; they allow important regulatory documents to be stored in the digital system or on paper. The permit book makes it a piece of cake for the drivers to have all the documents arranged with them all the time and access them whenever required. To manage fleets smoothly and be compliant with the rules and regulations permit books are the best as they keep every document up to date.

Different Types Of Permit Books

Permit books can be of different types. The owner-operator gets the complete freedom to choose the type of permit book he or she wants for the trucking company.

A trucking company has two types of permit books that help them maintain law enforcement and manage the fleets.

1. Physical Permit Book

The physical permit book is simply a permit book that is paper-based. The documents along with permits, are all in paper form and are there stored and organized like a paper file. The physical permit book requires labor for humans to maintain, upgrade, and manage it. The permits with new expiry dates and variations need to be attached over and over again while removing the old ones. There is no doubt in stating the fact that managing the physical permit book is a big burden. all the drivers must have every document in the file. It is more easy to lose documents when the permit is in a paper file form and also updating the drivers with new information regarding the documents and permits is difficult.

2. Digital Permit Book

The digital permit book is a cloud-based driver application that stores the pictures of documents digitally. The drivers can access the documents through the app with just one click. The digital permit book allows the new expiry dates to be featured on the app and even stores the updated documents. Through the digital permit book, drivers can easily access all the documents anywhere, anytime, without the need to carry heavy paper files. The digital permit book also helps maintain privacy between the inspection officers and driver during inspections by just showing the relevant documents required by the officer while hiding the rest of the documents that are not needed. Without a doubt, the digital permit book has become the go-to fleet management tool that most and the largest owner-operators are using. This saves paper costs and bridges the communication gap between drivers and the company when updated information needs to be transmitted.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Digital And Physical Permit Books:

Each type of permit book possesses its pros and cons. These are the crucial aspects that the owner-operator looks at when deciding which type to go for.

Digital Permit Book:

  1. The digital permit book stores pictures of every document the owner-operator wants, and these documents are then available to the driver with just one click. There is no need for the driver to carry huge paper files.
  2. The digital permit book updates the new expiry dates on the documents digitally without the need to use paper double or triple times to print the updated dates like in the physical permit book.
  3. Digital permit books can make the documents available to the driver anytime and anywhere.
  1. A trucking company owner needs to buy a complete mobile app or software that will act as the digital permit book, which can be expensive.
  2. To properly understand the app or software interface, the drivers and the other employees need to be able to understand the technology. Proper courses and classes often need to be set up by the owner-operator to enable the employees to learn to use the software and apps.

Physical Permit Book:

  1. The physical permit book is simply documents compiled in paper file format. This is old school and easily adaptive; there is no technology involved, which needs to be learned by the employees.
  2. Physical permit books cannot be hacked while digital permit books stand a small chance of being hacked when connected with the internet.
  1. The trucking owner spends a handsome amount on document photocopying and file maintenance and paying employees to manage this.
  2. The physical permit book can be lost easily which poses a huge burden of making the documents again and updating them.
  3. Thirdly, updating any document on the physical permit book can be time-consuming and hectic. An original document must be inserted systematically in large bundles of paper. Whereas it just takes a picture to be taken and stored in a digital permit book.

In conclusion, most owner-operators go for the digital permit book rather than the physical permit book. The electronic permits and documents are always there with the driver when a digital permit book is used. In comparison, keeping the physical permit book is more of a hustle.

The Legal Aspects And The Permit Books

The inspection officers require many legal documents from a driver during the inspection. The driver must be able to provide all the must-haves during the inspection else legal fines and charges can be imposed on the driver and owner-operator of the company.

Below is a list of a few necessary documents needed to fulfil the legal aspects during every type of inspection.

  • Motor carrier authority(MCA)

It tells about the registration of the driver with the Department of Transportation and his eligibility to carry the freight.

  • Certificate Of Insurance

This certificate is simply the proof of insurance, listing policies, number, and contact of the agents.

  • Truck registration

It tells crucial information regarding the truck, like the vehicle's VIN, license plate, and owner name, and one must keep a vigilant eye on expiration dates to avoid legal issues.

  • IFTA Credentials

The international fuel Tax Agreement credentials are mandatory to be carried as they are always asked for

There are many more documents as well, which are significantly required at the time of inspection, and it's better to keep all the documents and permits within a permit book to maintain compliance and fulfill all the legal aspects.

Software For Digital Permit Books

To have smooth compliance management and fleet management, digitizing permit books is the best option. There will be electronic permits and electronic documents available just a click away on the phones of drivers and employees, which will save time and boost efficiency. There is a large role played by the software in digitizing the permit books.

Here is a list of the few best digital permit software that provides the best experience and performance to the users in managing documents, permits, compliance, and fleets in a trucking business.

  • Paracelsus
  • Digital Permit Book
  • FlexTMS
  • HorizonGo
  • SafetyAuditPrep
  • Truck Spy

Future Of The Permit Books

The permit books are getting more and more in use with time. It is becoming the prior need of owner-operators while running the trucking business. However, with the period, the owner-operators are considering the more and more use of digital permit books rather than physical permit books. The main reason behind this is the efficiency, safety, and management provided by the digital permit book. In the future with the increment in technology day by day, digital permit books will become even more advanced and easy to use. There will be more features, a user-friendly environment, and efficiency in the digital permit books. Apart from this, the market for the digital permit book software and mobile app will grow even larger, almost putting an end to the physical form of the digital permit book.


The summation of all the details leads to one conclusion that is the permit books are one of the prime needs of the owner-operator in establishing a successful trucking business. Permit books not only help maintain and store documents but also give rise to the best compliance and fleet management systems. The owner-operators, managers, drivers, and other employees, in short, all the trucking company members, benefit from the permit books, especially the digital permit books. It is one of the top fleet management tools and compliance management tools. Investing in a digital permit book is one of the ideal investments that a trucking owner-operator can make. This business investment can give a turnout to a successful business, turning itself from a business investment to a lifetime investment.

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