The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the safety of Commercial Motor Vehicles, or CMVs. It is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation whose primary mission is “to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses,” according to itsFacebook page.
What is a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)?
A CMV is a vehicle used on highways in interstate commerce that either:
Weighs more than 10,000 lbs. (26,000 lbs. in Texas)
Transports or is designed to transport 16 or more people (including the driver), or -more than 8 people for compensations
Transports hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding
What does the FMCSA do?
The agency’s mission is to “reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicle (CMV) transportation through education, innovation, regulation, enforcement, financial assistance, partnerships, and full accountability.”¹ Itsthreecore principles involve raising the bar to entry for the industry, hold carriers and drivers to high safety standards, and remove the highest risk drivers, vehicles, and carriers (truck and bus companies) from the roads.
The FMCSA enforces safety regulations, improves information systems and CMV technologies, keeps operating and equipment standards high, and generally promotes safety awareness. It works closely with Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies, as well as the motor carrier industry and organized labor groups.While the FMCSA’s work targets CMV drivers and carriers, the agency also promotes safety awareness to the public through various programs and resources, such asLook Before You Book and Protect Your Move.
History and success
Formerly a part of the Federal Highway Administration, the FMCSA was established in 2000 in accordance with the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (49 U.S.C. 113). Its current chief counsel is T.F. Scott Darling III. The FMCSA is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and employs over 1,000 people in all 50 states. A Division Administrator, who works with a Federal Program Manager, Border Supervisor, Safety Investigators, Auditors, and Inspectors to carry out the agency’s programs and regulations, oversees each state Division office.
In 2015 the FMCSA requested an annual budget of approximately $668 million to support the FMCSA 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, which aligns with the United States Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Strategic Framework and Roadway Safety Plan (RSP). Of the $668 million requested, 94% was allocated to safety programs, with over 50% of those funds for grants to State organizations.
The FMCSA publishes develops programs and publishes legislation for CMV carriers and drivers. These fall under three basic categories: regulations, registration, and safety. Regulations are published in the Federal Register and compiled in theU.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
The cornerstone of FMCSA’s compliance and enforcement program is Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA), which identifies noncompliance with safety regulations largely through its data analysis technology, the Safety Measurement System (SAS). The FMCSA is in the process of studying and updating its Hours of Service (HOS) regulation, which tries to minimize CMV driver fatigue on the job. The agency also implemented the National Registry rule in 2014, which raised the standards for all Medical Examiners (MEs) issuing medical certifications for interstate CMV drivers. A planned extension of this rule would make it even more difficult for drivers to falsify medical cards.
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