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What safety programs does the FMCSA run?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has the enormous responsibility of providing safety oversight and implementing regulations for the millions of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) on our nation’s highways. The purpose of the organization is to reduce fatalities, injuries, and crashes associated with 18-wheel trucks and passenger buses. The FMCSA, established in 2000, currently employs approximately 1,100 people. In addition to regulation and enforcement, the FMCSA sponsors education, research, technology, and strategic partnerships. They also run numerous safety programs.

Three primary objectives of the FMCSA.

Twenty years after its inception, the FMCSA regulates four million commercial drivers, 532,000 motor carriers, and 12,000 passenger carriers. The organization has established the three objectives below with these enormous numbers in mind.

  1. Making it more challenging to enter the motor carrier industry.
  2. Requiring those already in the industry and new entrants to meet high safety standards.
  3. Intervening and potentially removing carriers from the industry who present a higher than usual risk.

To help meet these goals, the FMCSA has implemented several safety programs that we describe below.

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Six safety programs operated by the FMCSA.

With its programs and resources, the FMCSA focuses most on identifying and intervening with high risk carriers to keep the public safe. Its current safety programs include:

  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Program: This program provides initial and ongoing education to drivers in the process of obtaining a CDL and after they have obtained it. It teaches the requirements for receiving and keeping a CDL.
  • Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA): This large program helps to enforce safety regulations for CMVs primarily through the Safety Measurement System (SMS). The SMS evaluates motor carriers and drivers with performance-based measurements that help to identify the riskiest drivers and remove them from the road.
  • Hazardous Materials (HM) Program: Drivers and motor carriers that transport materials deemed hazardous by the FMCSA receive education, information, and training on delivering them safely between two or more points. It also instructs them on regulations and how to respond in an emergency.
  • Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program: This FMCSA-sponsored program offers financial assistance to states to help them implement and enforce additional safety measures. This is just one example of a partnership that helps the FMCSA to meet its primary goal of reducing accidents and fatalities involving CMVs.
  • National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners: With this program, CMV drivers can access trained medical professionals to ensure they meet the medical qualifications necessary to do the job.
  • New Entrant Program: All new CMVs must register with the FMCSA and receive additional close monitoring during their first 18 months of employment.

The FMCSA also sponsors two consumer safety programs on the topics of bus safety and moving from one home to another.

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