When do FMCSA Regulations Apply to Truckers?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has numerous regulations that apply to truck drivers and trucking companies. These regulations cover a variety of safety related topics, and they require truckers and their carriers to follow certain rules or else face a number of consequences. Violation of the rules can also be grounds for imposing civil liability if the tractor trailer driver causes an accident because of the rule violation. Because of that, it is important to know when FMCSA regulations apply.
Not every 18 wheeler on the road is covered by the FMCSA’s safety regulations. The regulations will apply if two separate requirements are met. First, the truck in question must be a certain size or a particular type of motor vehicle to be covered. Second, the truck in question must be involved in interstate commerce.
Because each of these standards has specific requirements, it is helpful to look at each of them in turn.
First, a truck must be a specific type of commercial vehicle to be covered. Vehicles that are covered by at least some portion of the FMCSR include:
- Weight: A vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater;
- Passengers for Pay: A vehicle that transports between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation;
- Passengers without Pay: A vehicle that transports 16 or more passengers, even if not for compensation; or
- Hazardous Materials: A commercial vehicle of any size that transports hazardous materials and for which a hazardous materials placard is required.
Second, the rules apply to all commercial motor vehicles that “transport property or passengers in interstate commerce.”[i] “Interstate commerce” is any trade or transportation that occurs in one of three ways:
- Between a place inside a state to a place outside of that state;
- Between two places in a state that goes through another state or an area outside of the United States; and
- Between two places inside one state “as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the State or the United States.”[ii]
A trucker and motor carrier that meet these criteria will need to satisfy FMCSA regulations regarding a number of requirements, including controlled substances; hours of service regulations; driver qualifications, including medical examinations; hours of service; inspection, maintenance, and repair; and driving and operation of commercial motor vehicles, including the parts and accessories necessary for safe operation.[iii]
Whether the FMCSA applies is an important consideration for injury cases involving tractor trailers. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, called Robert E. Byrne, Jr., an experienced Virginia tractor trailer accident attorney with MartinWren, P.C. Bob has experience with tractor trailer claims and can make sure you get the most compensation possible for the injuries, harms, and losses you suffered due to the actions of another.
For a free consultation with Bob, please call him at (434) 817-3100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] 49 C.F.R. § 390.3(a).
[ii] 49 C.F.R. § 390.5.