If your job calls for you to be behind the wheel of a truck, a big rig, or a semi, you are probably familiar with the federal motor carrier safety regulations. If you are not, here are some basics to help you understand how these regulations impact your job.

What is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and what is its main function?

The FCMSA is an agency that is part of the Department of Transportation of the United States. Its main purpose is to decrease the number of accidents, fatalities, and injuries on the road, particularly those that involve buses and large trucks.

How is this objective achieved?

The agency has taken specific actions to reduce bus and truck-related accidents on the road. Here are some of them:

  • It has developed and enforces regulations that balance the safety of truck and bus companies with efficiency
  • It has put in place a system of safety information regarding higher-risk carriers and whether they are enforcing the safety regulations
  • It has created and put in place targeted messages that are meant to reach the general public and also carriers and commercial drivers
  • It has established critical partnerships with important stakeholders such as enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels; the motor carrier industry as a whole as well as safety groups

How is compliance assured?

By performing roadside inspections and investigations into crashes, and by issuing violations when they uncover instances where safety regulations have not been followed. Also, the agency’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) uses data analysis to identify those companies that are unsafe and non-compliant and carry out enforcement interventions.

What other programs have the agency put in place?

Update of Hours of Service Regulations

Hours of Service (HOS) regulations were updated by FMCSA in 2013. The purpose of this action was to cut down on accidents that happen due to driver fatigue. It calls for truck drivers to use the “34-hour restart” provision in order to:

  • Maximize truck drivers’ weekly work hours
  • Limit the restart to once a week
  • Include in the restart period at least two nights off duty from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. to give drivers the benefit of sleep

National Registry

Starting in 2014, FCMSA’s National Registry rule has directed that all Medical Examiners (ME) who perform physical examinations in order to issue medical certifications for interstate CMV drivers must follow FMCSA’s physical qualification standards. They must also pass a certification test, and demonstrate competence through periodic training and testing.

If a CMV driver’s medical certifications expire, they must use MEs that are part of the National Registry for their examinations.

Has FMCSA taken any actions regarding COVID-19?

With coronavirus having a devastating effect all over the country, FMCSA has taken decisive actions in that regard. Both motor carriers and drivers are considered to be providing an essential service. They are responsible for the transportation of everything from food and all groceries; medical and testing supplies, including masks, gloves, and sanitizer, supplies that aim to prevent community transmission of COVID-19; all raw materials; and everything needed to keep the rest of the country operating.

Because of an emergency declaration issued by FMCSA, all drivers must continue to comply with FCMSA standards when driving, including respecting speed limits and traffic restrictions as well as not driving under the influence. If a driver is fatigued, they must inform their carrier and are entitled to receive ten hours of rest before being required to get back on the road.

Have you been impacted by the current pandemic?

Whether you are a carrier or a driver, you may have felt the impact of the pandemic that is currently enveloping the entire country. Do you know if you are entitled to receive emergency relief? You should not have to travel through this complicated situation on your own. The team of knowledgeable attorneys at Lee, Gober & Reyna, PLLC can help you with the legal expertise you need.

Get Legal Help Now

Whether you need help with any Austin federal motor carrier safety regulations or if you have been involved in a truck accident, having the appropriate legal help can make all the difference. Don’t let any more time go by. Schedule an initial consultation with the team of truck accident lawyers at Lee, Gober & Reyna, PLLC. You will have the opportunity to explain your case and receive the legal guidance you need to decide how to proceed.

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