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All About the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
Mariah Barr
4 mins read

What is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)? 

Whether you're starting a trucking company or adding a transportation sector to your business, you need to know what the FMCSA is and how its regulations impact you and your employees. Below, we answer the top questions about the FMCSA to provide clarity on this complicated federal agency.

What is the role of the FMCSA?

The FMCSA is responsible for a range of duties related to commercial motor vehicle safety. Their primary focus is on researching, developing, testing, and enforcing safety standards for both commercial motor vehicles and commercial driver's license holders. Additionally, the FMCSA issues USDOT numbers and operating authorities to trucking companies.

How does the FMCSA ensure roadway safety?

The FMCSA fine-tunes safety standards and regulations by identifying high-risk vehicles, drivers, and scenarios. These standards are upheld through regulations, maintenance, training, and the use of advanced technology.

They also cover various aspects of safety, including consecutive hours of service allowed before a driver takes a break, pre-employment checks, DOT drug and alcohol testing, vehicle inspection standards, hazardous materials labeling requirements, and cargo securing standards. 

Who is subject to FMCSA regulations?

Commercial motor vehicles in the U.S. that fall under FMCSA rules include those with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more, vehicles carrying hazardous materials requiring a cautionary placard, vehicles transporting 16 or more passengers (including the driver) uncompensated, and vehicles transporting nine or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation.

Entities operating these commercial vehicles must be aware of FMCSA standards, implement procedures, and use technologies to ensure compliance. 

How are FMCSA rules enforced?

FMCSA rules are enforced through regular compliance reviews, investigations into complaints, regular inspections, and DOT weigh stations. Businesses must also enforce FMCSA rules internally to avoid fines and penalties. This may include vehicle inspections, employee reviews, fleet tracking technology, dash cams, internal investigations, regular training programs, and providing the necessary materials to drivers.

Businesses must also stay updated on FMCSA regulations as they can change over time, which is why it's vital to have a DOT compliance partner.

What are the notable FMCSA programs and regulations?

The FMCSA has various safety programs, with two notable ones being CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) and HOS (Hours of Service) regulations. These programs play a crucial role in promoting safety and ethical practices in industries that rely on commercial vehicles.

You can learn more about CSA scores in this Foley article. Additional HOS information is available in this Foley article as well. 

Follow FMCSA Regulations with Foley

Now that you have a better understanding of the FMCSA and who the agency regulates, you likely know where your company stands with meeting the latest requirements. And if you're far from perfect, that's ok!

Working with a DOT compliance partner can help you manage your FMCSA requirements so you can have peace of mind about what really matters when it comes to running a successful, compliant business. 

Click here or fill out the form below to talk to Foley about getting your DOT compliance requirements in order with our wide range of programs today.

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