The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the body responsible for formulating and enforcing different policies in the trucking industry. The agency is which is domiciled in the U.S. Department of Transportation was founded in 2000.
Every year, FMCSA reviews its regulations and passes others to ensure that all truck drivers are compliant. The body has a team of 1000 employees to help in enforcing these regulations.
For instance, as of December 16, 2019, all truck drivers comply with the Electronic Logging Mandate (ELD). This is just one example of the rules and regulations formulated and enforced by the FMCSA.
Drug and alcohol clearance
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has an online database that is able to identify drivers that are violating drug and alcohol regulations in every state. This allows the agency to stop the violators from crossing to other states to avoid being detected.
FMCSA requires all trucking companies to generate the Drug and Alcohol clearinghouse database from the Department of Transportation (DOT). They are then supposed to ensure that their drivers have completed all the return-to-duty requirements.
Apparently, FMCSA is able to track any driver violating the drug and alcohol rules by using a urine test. The tests are able to detect near-term alcohol and drug use.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
There are a number of rules and regulations concerning who is qualified to get a CDL and how they can obtain one. For instance, for a driver to get a CDL, they are supposed to pass a skills test as well as undertake a written knowledge test.
Any person operating a commercial motor vehicle that meets certain regulations and guidelines such as the ability to carry a specific number of passengers, specific weight among others is mandated by FMCSA to be a legal CDL holder.
As of January 2020, the International Marine Organization (IMO) reduced the amount of Sulphur emission allowed from 3.5 to 0.5 – with the objective of bringing down the total emission by 80%. Currently, the marine sector uses half of all the oil-based fuels.
This means that changing to Low-Sulphur fuels like diesel will lead to an increase in the prices of diesel across the world. FMCSA, therefore, requires truck drivers to reduce their use of Sulphur-based fuels and switch to options that are environmentally-friendly.
Most trucking companies often try to operate too large and too heavy tracks in order to save money at the expense of safety. To prevent this from happening, the FMCSA has come up with regulations that directly prohibit certain sizes and weights of tracks for interstate traffic.
For truck companies that operate within the same state (intrastate), there are limits set for every state – provided the truck limits its operations on roads that are not governed by the National Networks (NN). Any driver found violating these rules will be charged by the FMCSA.
Hours of service
One of the most contentious issues in the trucking industry is how long truck drivers are supposed to work. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has put in place several measures that are designed to curb the problem of fatigued drivers through the hours-of-service (HOS) laws.
The hours-of-service laws stipulate the exact amount of hours that truck drivers can work and when they cannot work. The HOS laws have been in existence since 1938 and have been reviewed four times. However, there are still many advocates who are pushing for more changes to be implemented.
Several municipalities and states have regulations that restrict the number of time drivers can keep their trucks parked. This can be a major issue for a driver who sleeps on the way.
Some states charge drivers found idling their engines more than the allowed time up to $25,000. It is always important to understand the rules and regulations of each state to avoid getting in trouble.