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Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to Ensure Road Safety



The regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are intended to keep the roads safer for all drivers. Upholding these regulations is a legal obligation that helps significantly reduce crashes.

All commercial vehicle operators must follow these rules. While there are many of them, here are a few of the ones that pertain to safety.

Pre-Employment Checks

Before hiring a new truck driver, employers must conduct comprehensive background checks. Motor vehicle records, safety history, crash records, and substance abuse history should all be analyzed. Additionally, drug testing must be conducted before hiring, and random tests should be ongoing.

Annual Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) Checks

Each year, trucking companies must conduct annual reviews for each of their drivers’ motor vehicle reports. This ensures that all carriers can confirm that their drivers comply with the safety criteria set by the FMCSA.

These regulations require that carriers maintain an up-to-date MVR for their drivers. Records need to be retained for three years and they must be reviewed to ensure each driver meets the minimum safety standards.

Vehicle Inspections

All commercial truck drivers must complete daily vehicle inspections. They must conduct them before and after operating their vehicle. Driver inspection reports are an essential component of fleet compliance. If there is a safety issue that is found during a DOT inspection, the vehicle cannot return to the road until proper repairs are made.

Many components are analyzed for these inspections including the brakes, lights, tires, and steering mechanisms.

Hours of Service (HOS)

Hours of service (HOS) regulations are in place to keep truck drivers from experiencing fatigue on the road. These rules specify the maximum number of consecutive hours that a truck driver can work before they must take a mandatory break for rest. In 2017, when the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate went into effect, it automated the process to record driving times.

It’s now easier to ensure that drivers take the appropriate amount of breaks to prevent drowsy driving, which could lead to a catastrophic crash. Additionally, having these things automated prevents confusion about what time a driver started their journey, which prevents HOS violations and penalties.

Hazardous Materials

The FMCSA also regulates the shipment and receipt of hazardous materials. Only those that are registered for transporting these elements through permits can carry them. Any kind of hazardous material must be classified, detailed, and packaged according to these strict regulations.

Violating these terms can result in both civil and criminal penalties. You must have the right permits if any vehicle in your fleet is transporting these materials. Additionally, drivers and handlers of these materials must receive proper training first to comply with the standards set by the FMCSA.

Cargo Securement

Properly securing cargo is another important requirement for FMCSA safety regulations. All tie-downs must be securely fastened and chocks and wedges need to be used to prevent movement while on the road. There also must be the correct number of tie-downs used based on the weight requirements of the load.

The load cannot obstruct the driver’s view in any way. Failing to adhere to the proper protocols for securing cargo will result in fines.

Proper Record Keeping

Another component of FMCSA safety regulations is keeping proper records. You must have motor vehicle reports, proof of insurance, drug testing records, employee training records, HOS records, quarterly IFTA reports, and much more. Thankfully, electronic logging devices make all this much easier and can help you spot issues, allowing you to stay compliant.

In short, abiding by the regulations is a crucial aspect for all trucking companies and truck drivers to keep everyone safe.

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