If you find that you need to choose a truck operating authority after being exempt in the past, or you need to change from one type of operating authority to another, you can do so using the process outlined below. A thorough understanding of how operating authorities work and what they require can help you save time and money during the process. Since your truck operating authority could impact the insurance you are required to carry, choosing the right model for your business is essential if you want to ensure you are getting the best possible rates on your insurance.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for making sure that commercial trucks and drivers are safe enough to be on America’s highways. To protect the public, the FMCSA completes regular inspections of equipment, driver log books, records of violations, and more. If your business is found to have a violation, the FMCSA will then notify the motor carrier of violations by mail in the form of a warning letter.
Regular maintenance for your trucks and fleet vehicles does more than just prevent you from experiencing emergency repair work costs and downtime; it enhances your safety on the roadways, too. As a trucker or an organization that owns trucks, if you perform deliveries or shipping services, you are also required to comply with key maintenance and safety regulations from the FMCSA. One way to track how well you are doing is the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC program; learning more about this safety program will help keep your drivers and others safe on the roads and ensure you remain in compliance.
One common question from truckers who have not yet obtained their operating authority (MC number) from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is whether they can still lease their services to a for-hire carrier that has operating rights. According to Section 376.11, the answer is yes as long as the trucker meets all FMCSA requirements.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces a program known as Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (HMSP). The purpose is to increase safety for the driving public and commercial truck drivers. The FMCSA maintains a database outlining the types of materials that require truckers to obtain a permit before they can transport them. We include this information below.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the federal Department of Transportation (DOT), retains safety information for every commercial carrier that drives on public roads. It also keeps a safety record for every trucking company or independent owner-operator. Although it stores several types of documents, the Company Safety Profile (CSP) is by far the most comprehensive.
Interstate commerce and intrastate commerce refer to two different ways of transporting cargo or people. The term interstate means that the commercial truck driver moves cargo or people across state lines. Specifically, it includes the following definitions:
- Between a place inside of a state and a place outside of a state, including outside of the country
- Between two destinations inside of a state going through another state or outside of the country
- Between two places within a state as part of transportation, traffic, or trade that originates or terminates outside of the state or outside of the United States
The term private motor carrier refers to a commercial trucking company that transports the cargo it produces rather than outsourcing the job to another company or independent owner-operator. Businesses that operate as a private motor carrier typically produce, sell, or use the cargo it produces and transports. The main thing that distinguishes a private motor carrier from other types of motor carriers is that they do not deliver anyone else’s goods, and they do not make deliveries for financial compensation.
While all motor carriers must carry a limited amount of liability insurance, this is only the basic requirement and it offers no protection for the goods you carry. You need to carry cargo insurance to guard against financial loss from damage to your cargo while in transit or storage. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truckers who transport household goods and freight forwarders of household goods to carry at least a minimum amount of cargo insurance in case the load becomes damaged or destroyed due to situations beyond the trucker’s control.
Do the terms you hear used in the trucking industry sometimes make it seem like people are speaking a foreign language? They aren’t, of course, but it never hurts to seek clarity to ensure that you’re following all rules depending on the type of trucking business you operate or who you work under. The terms motor carrier, broker, and freight forwarder authority can become especially confusing when you’re new to the business.