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Motor Carrier Safety: What you need to know

The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for administering the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). The purpose of the FMCSRs, and the stated goal of FMCSA, is to "reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses." To accomplish this, DOT develops regulations, engages in enforcement activities (with a special focus on high-risk carriers), and partners with stakeholder to reduce bus and truck-related crashes.

49 CFR 390.3
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The FMCSRs are applicable to all employers, employees, and commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that transport property or passengers in interstate commerce.

Exceptions. The following entities and activities don't fall under the FMCSRs:

  • Public-sector entities
  • School bus operations
  • Noncommercial transportation of personal property
  • Transportation of human corpses or the sick or injured
  • Fire and rescue vehicles involved in emergency operations
  • CMVs designed or used to transport 9 to 15 passengers not for compensation or for compensation provided the vehicles are operated within a 75-mile air radius of their base, and provided the vehicles don't otherwise meet the definition of a CMV
  • A driver of a commercial motor vehicle used primarily in the transportation of propane winter heating fuel or a driver of a motor vehicle used to respond to a pipeline emergency, if such regulations would prevent the driver from responding to an emergency condition requiring immediate response.
49 CFR 365.105 and 49 CFR 390.19

Motor carriers conducting operations in interstate commerce must obtain a DOT number by filing a Motor Carrier Identification Report, Form MCS-150, ...


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