The Basics of Interstate Trucking Law
Interstate trucks are trucks that travel through multiple states, and because of this they are governed by Federal (as opposed to state) laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees the trucking industry and is responsible for the issuance, administration and enforcement of safety regulations. All interstate motor carrier companies and their drivers must abide by all laws, regulations and guidelines set by the FMCSA.
In order to travel interstate, a trucking company must first register with the FMCSA and obtain a proper license. The motor carrier must also obtain a USDOT number.
Each vehicle owned by the motor carrier is required to display the owner company’s name on its trucks, and an identification report must be filed with the FMCSA so that liability is strictly defined.
All motor carrier companies are also required to adhere to a number of safety standards. These include safety management controls concerning:
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL) violations
- Use of unqualified drivers
- Use of fatigued drivers
- Use of unsafe vehicles
- Inadequate inspection/repair/maintenance of vehicles
- Improver use of vehicles
- Financial responsibility
- Failure to maintain accident registers and copies of accident reports
- Improver transportation of hazardous materials
The frequency and severity of regulatory violations and traffic accidents are also taken into consideration. Details of individual motor carrier’s safety status is available through the FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System (SAFER) with permission from the FMCSA.
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