Ramsdell Law Firm

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. To accomplish these activities, the Administration works with Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, labor and safety interest groups, and others.

Activities of the Administration contribute to ensuring safety in motor carrier operations through strong enforcement of safety regulations;

APITLA is an FMSCA partner

APITLA is a national organization of truck accident lawyers who work together to put the brakes on unsafe and illegally operating trucking companies.
APITLA is proud to be one of the few organizations in America that has been chosen by the FMCSA to be their partner in bringing about safety on our highways.
Dan Ramsdell is the national director of APITLA.

Frequently Violated FMCSA Regulations

(a) Every motor carrier, its officers, agents, representatives, and employees responsible for the management, maintenance, operation, or driving of commercial motor vehicles, or the hiring, supervising, training, assigning, or dispatching of drivers, shall be instructed in and comply with the rules in this part.

(b) The rules in this part do not apply to drivers of “pipeline welding trucks” as defined in 49 CFR 390.38(b).

[53 FR 18057, May 19, 1988, as amended at 60 FR 38746, July 28, 1995; 81 FR 47721, July 22, 2016]

Every commercial motor vehicle must be operated in accordance with the laws, ordinances, and regulations of the jurisdiction in which it is being operated. However, if a regulation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration imposes a higher standard of care than that law, ordinance or regulation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation must be complied with.

[35 FR 7800, May 21, 1970, as amended at 60 FR 38746, July 28, 1995]

No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle. However, in a case of grave emergency where the hazard to occupants of the commercial motor vehicle or other users of the highway would be increased by compliance with this section, the driver may continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle to the nearest place at which that hazard is removed.

[35 FR 7800, May 21, 1970, as amended at 60 FR 38746, July 28, 1995]

(a) No driver shall be on duty and possess, be under the influence of, or use, any of the following drugs or other substances:

(1) Any 21 CFR 1308.11 Schedule I substance;

(2) An amphetamine or any formulation thereof (including, but not limited, to “pep pills,” and “bennies”);

(3) A narcotic drug or any derivative thereof; or

(4) Any other substance, to a degree which renders the driver incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.

(b) No motor carrier shall require or permit a driver to violate paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) Paragraphs (a) (2), (3), and (4) do not apply to the possession or use of a substance administered to a driver by or under the instructions of a licensed medical practitioner, as defined in §382.107 of this subchapter, who has advised the driver that the substance will not affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

(d) As used in this section, “possession” does not include possession of a substance which is manifested and transported as part of a shipment.

[61 FR 9567, Mar. 8, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 37153, July 11, 1997]

(a) No driver shall—

(1) Use alcohol, as defined in §382.107 of this subchapter, or be under the influence of alcohol, within 4 hours before going on duty or operating, or having physical control of, a commercial motor vehicle; or

(2) Use alcohol, be under the influence of alcohol, or have any measured alcohol concentration or detected presence of alcohol, while on duty, or operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle; or

(3) Be on duty or operate a commercial motor vehicle while the driver possesses wine of not less than one-half of one per centum of alcohol by volume, beer as defined in 26 U.S.C. 5052(a), of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or distilled spirits as defined in section 5002(a)(8), of such Code. However, this does not apply to possession of wine, beer, or distilled spirits which are:

(i) Manifested and transported as part of a shipment; or

(ii) Possessed or used by bus passengers.

(b) No motor carrier shall require or permit a driver to—

(1) Violate any provision of paragraph (a) of this section; or

(2) Be on duty or operate a commercial motor vehicle if, by the driver’s general appearance or conduct or by other substantiating evidence, the driver appears to have used alcohol within the preceding four hours.

(c) Any driver who is found to be in violation of the provisons of paragraph (a) or (b) of this section shall be placed out-of-service immediately for a period of 24 hours.

(1) The 24-hour out-of-service period will commence upon issuance of an out-of-service order.

(2) No driver shall violate the terms of an out-of-service order issued under this section.

(d) Any driver who is issued an out-of-service order under this section shall:

(1) Report such issuance to his/her employer within 24 hours; and

(2) Report such issuance to a State official, designated by the State which issued his/her driver’s license, within 30 days unless the driver chooses to request a review of the order. In this case, the driver shall report the order to the State official within 30 days of an affirmation of the order by either the Division Administrator or State Director for the geographical area or the Administrator.

(e) Any driver who is subject to an out-of-service order under this section may petition for review of that order by submitting a petition for review in writing within 10 days of the issuance of the order to the Division Administrator or State Director for the geographical area in which the order was issued. The Division Administrator or State Director may affirm or reverse the order. Any driver adversely affected by such order of the Regional Director of Motor Carriers may petition the Administrator for review in accordance with 49 CFR 386.13.

(49 U.S.C. 304, 1655; 49 CFR 1.48(b) and 301.60)

[47 FR 47837, Oct. 28, 1982, as amended at 52 FR 27201, July 20, 1987; 59 FR 7515, Feb. 15, 1994; 61 FR 9567, Mar. 8, 1996; 79 FR 59457, Oct. 2, 2014]

No motor carrier shall schedule a run nor permit nor require the operation of any commercial motor vehicle between points in such period of time as would necessitate the commercial motor vehicle being operated at speeds greater than those prescribed by the jurisdictions in or through which the commercial motor vehicle is being operated.

[33 FR 19732, Dec. 25, 1968, as amended at 60 FR 38746, July 28, 1995]

(a) No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver is satisfied that the following parts and accessories are in good working order, nor shall any driver fail to use or make use of such parts and accessories when and as needed:

Service brakes, including trailer brake connections.

Parking (hand) brake.

Steering mechanism.

Lighting devices and reflectors.

Tires.

Horn.

Windshield wiper or wipers.

Rear-vision mirror or mirrors.

Coupling devices.

Wheels and rims.

Emergency equipment.

(b) Drivers preparing to transport intermodal equipment must make an inspection of the following components, and must be satisfied they are in good working order before the equipment is operated over the road. Drivers who operate the equipment over the road shall be deemed to have confirmed the following components were in good working order when the driver accepted the equipment:

—Service brake components that are readily visible to a driver performing as thorough a visual inspection as possible without physically going under the vehicle, and trailer brake connections

—Lighting devices, lamps, markers, and conspicuity marking material

—Wheels, rims, lugs, tires

—Air line connections, hoses, and couplers

—King pin upper coupling device

—Rails or support frames

—Tie down bolsters

—Locking pins, clevises, clamps, or hooks

—Sliders or sliding frame lock

[33 FR 19732, Dec. 25, 1968, as amended at 60 FR 38746, July 28, 1995; 73 FR 76823, Dec. 17, 2008; 74 FR 68708, Dec. 29, 2009; 79 FR 75449, Dec. 18, 2014]

No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver thereof is satisfied that the emergency equipment required by §393.95 of this subchapter is in place and ready for use; nor shall any driver fail to use or make use of such equipment when and as needed.

[49 FR 38290, Sept. 28, 1984, as amended at 60 FR 38746, July 28, 1995]

(a) General. A driver may not operate a commercial motor vehicle and a motor carrier may not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle unless—

(1) The commercial motor vehicle’s cargo is properly distributed and adequately secured as specified in §§393.100 through 393.136 of this subchapter.

(2) The commercial motor vehicle’s tailgate, tailboard, doors, tarpaulins, spare tire and other equipment used in its operation, and the means of fastening the commercial motor vehicle’s cargo, are secured; and

(3) The commercial motor vehicle’s cargo or any other object does not obscure the driver’s view ahead or to the right or left sides (except for drivers of self-steer dollies), interfere with the free movement of his/her arms or legs, prevent his/her free and ready access to accessories required for emergencies, or prevent the free and ready exit of any person from the commercial motor vehicle’s cab or driver’s compartment.

(b) Drivers of trucks and truck tractors. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, the driver of a truck or truck tractor must—

(1) Assure himself/herself that the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section have been complied with before he/she drives that commercial motor vehicle;

(2) Inspect the cargo and the devices used to secure the cargo within the first 50 miles after beginning a trip and cause any adjustments to be made to the cargo or load securement devices as necessary, including adding more securement devices, to ensure that cargo cannot shift on or within, or fall from the commercial motor vehicle; and

(3) Reexamine the commercial motor vehicle’s cargo and its load securement devices during the course of transportation and make any necessary adjustment to the cargo or load securement devices, including adding more securement devices, to ensure that cargo cannot shift on or within, or fall from, the commercial motor vehicle. Reexamination and any necessary adjustments must be made whenever—

(i) The driver makes a change of his/her duty status; or

(ii) The commercial motor vehicle has been driven for 3 hours; or

(iii) The commercial motor vehicle has been driven for 150 miles, whichever occurs first.

(4) The rules in this paragraph (b) do not apply to the driver of a sealed commercial motor vehicle who has been ordered not to open it to inspect its cargo or to the driver of a commercial motor vehicle that has been loaded in a manner that makes inspection of its cargo impracticable.

[67 FR 61224, Sept. 27, 2002, as amended at 72 FR 55703, Oct. 1, 2007]

(a) Operating authority required. A motor vehicle providing transportation requiring operating authority must not be operated—

(1) Without the required operating authority or

(2) Beyond the scope of the operating authority granted.

(b) Penalties. Every motor carrier providing transportation requiring operating authority shall be ordered out of service if it is determined that the motor carrier is operating a vehicle in violation of paragraph (a) of this section. In addition, the motor carrier may be subject to penalties in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 14901.

(c) Administrative review. Upon issuance of the out-of-service order under paragraph (b) of this section, the driver shall comply immediately with such order. Opportunity for review shall be provided in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 554 not later than 10 days after issuance of such order.

[71 FR 50867, Aug. 28, 2006, as amended at 78 FR 60233, Oct. 1, 2013]

(a) Safety registration required. A commercial motor vehicle providing transportation in interstate commerce must not be operated without a safety registration and an active USDOT Number.

(b) Penalties. If it is determined that the motor carrier responsible for the operation of such a vehicle is operating in violation of paragraph (a) of this section, it may be subject to penalties in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 521.

[78 FR 52655, Aug. 23, 2013, as amended at 81 FR 68358, Oct. 4, 2016]

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, the driver of a commercial motor vehicle specified in paragraphs (a) (1) through (6) of this section shall not cross a railroad track or tracks at grade unless he/she first: Stops the commercial motor vehicle within 50 feet of, and not closer than 15 feet to, the tracks; thereafter listens and looks in each direction along the tracks for an approaching train; and ascertains that no train is approaching. When it is safe to do so, the driver may drive the commercial motor vehicle across the tracks in a gear that permits the commercial motor vehicle to complete the crossing without a change of gears. The driver must not shift gears while crossing the tracks.

(1) Every bus transporting passengers,

(2) Every commercial motor vehicle transporting any quantity of a Division 2.3 chlorine.

(3) Every commercial motor vehicle which, in accordance with the regulations of the Department of Transportation, is required to be marked or placarded with one of the following classifications:

(i) Division 1.1

(ii) Division 1.2, or Division 1.3

(iii) Division 2.3 Poison gas

(iv) Division 4.3

(v) Class 7

(vi) Class 3 Flammable

(vii) Division 5.1

(viii) Division 2.2

(ix) Division 2.3 Chlorine

(x) Division 6.1 Poison

(xi) Division 2.2 Oxygen

(xii) Division 2.1

(xiii) Class 3 Combustible liquid

(xiv) Division 4.1

(xv) Division 5.1

(xvi) Division 5.2

(xvii) Class 8

(xviii) Division 1.4

(4) Every cargo tank motor vehicle, whether loaded or empty, used for the transportation of any hazardous material as defined in the Hazardous Materials Regulations of the Department of Transportation, parts 107 through 180 of this title.

(5) Every cargo tank motor vehicle transporting a commodity which at the time of loading has a temperature above its flashpoint as determined by §173.120 of this title.

(6) Every cargo tank motor vehicle, whether loaded or empty, transporting any commodity under exemption in accordance with the provisions of subpart B of part 107 of this title.

(b) A stop need not be made at:

(1) A streetcar crossing, or railroad tracks used exclusively for industrial switching purposes, within a business district, as defined in §390.5 of this chapter.

(2) A railroad grade crossing when a police officer or crossing flagman directs traffic to proceed,

(3) A railroad grade crossing controlled by a functioning highway traffic signal transmitting a green indication which, under local law, permits the commercial motor vehicle to proceed across the railroad tracks without slowing or stopping.

(4) An abandoned railroad grade crossing which is marked with a sign indicating that the rail line is abandoned,

(5) An industrial or spur line railroad grade crossing marked with a sign reading “Exempt.” Such “Exempt” signs shall be erected only by or with the consent of the appropriate State or local authority.

(Sec. 12, 80 Stat. 931; 49 U.S.C. 1651 note; 49 U.S.C. 304, 1655; 49 CFR 1.48(b) and 301.60)

[33 FR 19732, Dec. 25, 1968, as amended at 35 FR 7801, May 21, 1970; 38 FR 1589, Jan. 16, 1973; 40 FR 44555, Sept. 29, 1975; 45 FR 46424, July 10, 1980; 47 FR 47837, Oct. 28, 1982; 59 FR 63924, Dec. 12, 1994; 60 FR 38746, 38747, July 28, 1995]

Every commercial motor vehicle other than those listed in §392.10 shall, upon approaching a railroad grade crossing, be driven at a rate of speed which will permit said commercial motor vehicle to be stopped before reaching the nearest rail of such crossing and shall not be driven upon or over such crossing until due caution has been taken to ascertain that the course is clear.

[33 FR 19732, Dec. 25, 1968, as amended at 60 FR 38747, July 28, 1995]

No driver of a commercial motor vehicle shall drive onto a highway-rail grade crossing without having sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping.

[78 FR 58923, Sept. 25, 2013]

Ramsdell Law Firm