There are so many rules and regulations in the trucking industry, but who exactly is laying down the law? If you’re not familiar, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in charge of regulating the trucking industry as a whole. Many people don’t know what they do, so the question still remains. Who regulates the trucking industry?
Who is the FMCSA?
The FMCSA was created in 2000 as an agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). They have a variety of tasks including developing the standards for testing commercial drivers, collecting safety data, regulating compliance, and more. In order to enforce the policies and regulations in place, the FMCSA works with state and local governments. They strive to reduce the number of injuries and accidents involving large commercial vehicles on the road. The FMCSA works with somewhere around four million CDL drivers. Crazy right? How can they regulate four million drivers? The answer is very carefully, and with lots of training and compliance programs.
Any regulation that the FMCSA issues is automatically documented by the Federal Register and is added to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The Federal Register is published every business day and includes proposed issues as well as final regulations of the government’s agencies. Basically, it’s a daily newsletter with updates from the different government agencies. This means that every time the FMCSA amends or creates a new regulation, all agencies know about it, keeping them in the loop in terms of enforcement. FMCSA regulations include things such as oil spill prevention and response plans to grain inspection to firearm use. There are even regulations for the amount of sleep or down-time truckers should get! They have to make sure that they are always covering all their bases in order to keep the number of injuries and accidents as low as possible. If you ever want to know what they’re up to, you can search the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations to learn more here.
Training and Registration
The FMCSA also offers training programs. In fact, their training center reaches over 20,000 professionals every year! That’s a large outreach! They have training modules available for new applicants that walk them through the process of applying for a new registration with USDOT. If you are already working with the federal government then you don’t need to worry about this step! However, if you are a new driver, learning a little more about registration could be beneficial to you. There are six steps in the registration process according to the FMCSA website, and they are as follows:
- Determine FMCSA registration needs/requirements
- Complete FMCSA application process
- Determine state notification/registration requirements
- Begin a new entrant Safety Assurance Program
- Obtain permanent USDOT registration
- Maintain/Update USDOT number and Operating Authority
The FMCSA also has a ton of safety programs in place. These programs not only help keep truckers in line, but they collect data that will allow FMCSA to implement new rules. The most widely known program that they have is on compliance, safety and accountability. This program allows them to hold drivers responsible for the part they play in keeping the roads safe. Another safety component that they operate is the Safety Measurement System. This system collects data from different carriers and uses it to keep collision and violation data up-to-date. They also have a Pre-employment Screening Program, which allows the FMCSA to make smart hiring decisions. It gives them access to a driver’s crash records, inspection records, etc. in order to hire the best and safest drivers possible. While this seems like a lot of programs, that isn’t even all of them! The FMCSA is unparalleled in their attention to detail and commitment to keeping the roads safe for everyone. So, who regulates the trucking industry? The FMCSA, but more importantly their rules and regulations.
Now you no longer have to wonder who regulates the trucking industry! Do you have questions or comments about FMCSA? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!