Almost every single aspect of the trucking and transportation industry is affected by the laws and regulations passed by the FMCSA.
Almost every aspect of the trucking industry is subjected to the regulations passed / enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Established in 2000, the FMCSA's sole role is to regulate this crucial industry and employs more than 1,000 people to help it do so. Although there are countless law passed to increase the safety of not only the truck drivers, but also passengers and every other driver.
Some examples of the rules and regulations that govern the trucking industry:
Commercial Driver's License (CDL): There are several rules regarding who is eligible to obtain a CDL and how they may go about getting one. For example, for a driver to obtain a CDL, they will need to pass not only a skills test, but also a written knowledge test. Any individual who operates a commercial motor vehicle that meets specific guidelines (ex: certain weight, ability to hold a certain number of passengers) must be a legal CDL holder.
Hours of Service: One of the most controversial issues in the trucking industry is fatigued truckers. The FMCA works to curb the problem of exhausted drivers through their hours-of-service (HOS) laws which specifically state how long drivers can and cannot drive. HOS laws have been around since 1938 and have seen four revisions in the time between; currently, there are many advocates who are pushing for further changes to be made.
Weight / Size Restrictions: To save money, many trucking companies will attempt to have trucks operated that are too large and too heavy for safety. To counteract these attempts, FMCSA has released rules that directly restrict the weight and size of trucks for interstate traffic (between different states). For trucks that remain in state (intrastate), state limits come into effect so long as the truck remains on roads that are not part of the National Network (NN).
Drug / Alcohol: In an effort to create a drug and alcohol free transportation industry, FMCSA have defined clear rules for the testing of substance abuse. The regulations are clear on who is required to perform the testing, who is subjected to these tests, when the testing can occur, and more. The rules, however, also protect the truckers by restricting the use / release of sensitive drug and alcohol testing information.
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