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What does the FMCSA do?

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) established the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on January 1, 2000. This was in response to passage of the 1999 Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act. Prior to the 1999 legislation, the FMCSA was one division of the Federal Highway Administration. The primary purpose of the FMCSA is to prevent injuries and fatalities caused by commercial drivers. It employs approximately 1,000 people and maintains its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

FMCSA Strategy to Reduce Injuries, Fatalities, and Property Damage

In its mission and strategy statement, the FMCSA lists these four priorities to help achieve its purpose:

1. Create and target safety education messages to commercial drivers, motor carriers, and the driving public.

2. Develop and strictly enforce regulations that govern the behavior of commercial drivers and motor carriers with an understanding it must balance this need with driver efficiency.

3. Work closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, safety groups, organized labor groups, and the motor carrier industry itself to reduce the number of crashes caused by drivers of buses and commercial trucks.

4. Analyze safety data to focus intervention efforts on motor carriers and commercial drivers who present the highest risk to the public.

Most common activities managed by the FMCSA

The FMCSA engages in multiple formal programs to help maintain public safety. For example, the agency determines the standards used to test people when they apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL). All commercial driving positions require drivers to pass a skills test to receive their CDL. They must also keep the CDL in good standing or potentially faces fines or other sanctions from the FMCSA. A driver must have a CDL to operate any vehicle that weights more than 26,001 pounds.

Other activities managed by the FMCSA include:

  • Collection and analysis of data: The organization collects information on every driver through its Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) program. These categories include Crash Indicator, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Driver Fitness, Hazardous Materials Compliance, Hours of Service Compliance, Unsafe Driving, and Vehicle Maintenance. The scores it receives from this program help to identify potentially unsafe drivers who require additional intervention. It also operates a regulatory and compliance program.
  • Research studies: The FMCSA, along with several other government agencies, coordinates several research studies to help identify trends as well as issues that could use improvement. It strives to improve safety for both commercial and private drivers.
  • Financial assistance to states: To facilitate its partnership with state law enforcement agencies, the FMCSA provides financial assistance to ensure that officers have the training and resources to carry out roadside inspection. It also hosts advertising campaigns to promote safety by commercial drivers and motor carriers.

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Do you have the appropriate truck insurance coverage?

Among the dozens of regulations that commercial drivers and motor carriers must follow is the requirement to carry a basic amount of liability insurance to cover damage caused to private vehicles, drivers, and passengers. It also requires additional types of insurance depending on the unique circumstances. Hazardous materials insurance is one such example.

Our team of transportation professionals can help you get started with your truck insurance quotes. Fill out our online quote form, give us a call, or message us on LiveChat to talk to one of our truck insurance agents. We can help you get the insurance you need to protect your business.