Federal Trucking Laws And Regulations

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency responsible for devising the laws, rules, and regulations that govern motor carriers in the United States. The FMCSA has also passed many trucking laws and regulations, which have been designed to increase the safety of bug trucks on the roads of the United States. These laws have been enacted in a bid to reduce truck accidents and also increase the safety of the vehicles, drivers, and other passengers on the roads.

FMCSA Trucking Laws and Rules

Title 49 of Code of Federal Regulations, as designed by the FMCSA, lists all the laws and regulations that govern the entire trucking industry in the United States. The following are highlights of these federal trucking laws and regulations:

1) Laws and Regulations Applying to Truck Drivers:

Licensing Requirements: Part 383 of the above code lists licensing requirements for truck drivers and also penalties for not following the requirements. According to this rule, truck drivers are allowed to have just one driver's license, which has been issued to them by their home state. The license can be issued to the truck drivers only after they are successful in clearing knowledge and skill tests. Hazmat (hazardous material) carriers are usually required to pass additional tests before being given a valid license.
Special Training and Physical Requirements: Truck drivers need to undergo special training and also need to pass a physical exam every two years. Failing this test would restrict them from truck driving.
Controlled Substances, Alcohol Use and Testing: Part 382 states that no truck driver is allowed to report for duty with a blood alcohol level of 0.02 or more. Truck drivers cannot carry any alcohol with them while driving, unless it forms a portion of their cargo. They cannot have alcohol or other drugs that can affect their driving capabilities, in the 8 hours before a driving shift.
Hours of Service: Due to the alarming rise in truck accidents as a result of driver fatigue, the FMCSA has changed the rules of hours of service that apply to truck drivers. As per the new rules, truck drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours in a workday of 14 hours maximum, after which they are required to take a minimum of 10 hours off duty. Truck drivers are also required to maintain log books of their time spent at work and behind the wheel.

2) Laws and Regulations Applying to Trucks:

Rules for Securing Cargo: Beginning January 1, 2004, the rules for securing cargo and heavy loads in trucks were changed by the FMCSA, in order to make the cargo more secure and minimize the chances of it becoming loose and falling off the vehicle. These rules include new and better provisions for tying down cargo and using better securing devices.
Required Vehicle Markings: Under this rule, all trucks are required to display certain markings on the vehicle. These include their USDOT number, Hazmat markings, etc.

In addition to the above, the FMCSA has passed many rules and regulations that govern the actions of trucking companies, and hazardous material carriers as well. These include, but are not restricted to, complying with USDOT safety rules by trucking companies, unfit carrier rules, hours of service logbook rule for companies, hazardous material regulations and how to comply with them, State Hazmat permission and registration procedures, etc.


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