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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations 101

If you use commercial motor vehicles to transport shipments, you must abide by government rules put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Here's a quick explanation of what the FMCSA does, why compliance is important, and an overview of their rules of the road.

Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has over 140 regulations that cover a wide range of topics. These regulations are divided into specific sections, called parts. Each part is further broken down into subparts, which provide greater detail on federal laws within that category.

Basic Regulations You Should Know

Before you send vehicles out on the road, you need to know and follow all the registration standards for states where your vehicles will be operating. You should also familiarize yourself with the Unified Carrier Registration Plan. This system allows business owners to register vehicle operators who engage in interstate travel. Additionally, you need to know and follow all regulations regarding commercial driver's license standards, cargo securement, and general safety.

The FMCSA also defines rules regarding the various parts and accessories shippers should have so commercial vehicles can operate safely. This includes much-discussed ELD (electronic logging device) mandate equipment. They also cover inspection, maintenance, and repair rules for fleet vehicles. Safety regulations include things like standardized hours of service (maximum driving time) and hazardous materials handling guidelines.

Regularly Review FMCSA Rule Compliance

To avoid paying penalties and legal fees, it's in your best interest to read and understand all regulations that apply to your business. The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) is a searchable database that covers all FCMSA policies. It's current as of February 15, 2018.

Knowing all applicable safety guidelines that impact your business will help you avoid fines. More importantly, it will help you ensure that your drivers and vehicles stay safe and accident-free.

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