FMCSA Trucking Regulations 


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates large trucks, buses, and other large trucks to keep America’s roads safe. The federal organization regulates trucks that weigh over 10,000 pounds. It creates new regulations based on accident and safety data.

Often, truck accidents occur because a truck driver, trucking company, or other party violated these regulations. An experienced truck accident lawyer in Albuquerque from Caruso Law Offices can investigate your case to determine if any of the following regulations were broken:

Hours of Service Rules

The Hours of Service rules attempt to prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue. They dictate the maximum number of consecutive hours a commercial truck driver can drive before they are required to take a break and establish daily and weekly limits.

Since 2017, commercial motor vehicle operators have been required to use electronic logging devices to track compliance with the Hours of Service rules. Before then, truckers used paper logs, which were often manipulated to comport compliance when drivers were well exceeding the hour rules.

Hiring Requirements

The FMCSA requires employers to conduct a pre-employment background check consisting of the following:

  • The applicant’s motor vehicle records for the last three years
  • The applicant’s safety history, including their accident record
  • The applicant’s substance abuse history, including any violations of drug or alcohol rules

Additionally, the trucking company must conduct a pre-employment drug test.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

Truck drivers are subject to drug and alcohol testing, including at the following times:

  • Pre-employment
  • Annually
  • Upon reasonable suspicion
  • Randomly
  • After an accident
  • When returning to duty

Vehicle Inspections

Commercial truck drivers must complete vehicle inspections at the beginning and end of their work day. They must complete a vehicle inspection report.

Every commercial truck must be inspected annually by a qualified inspector. If an issue is documented during a Department of Transportation inspection, it must be corrected before the vehicle is allowed back on the road. The driver must provide signed proof of repair from a licensed repair shop.

Cargo Securement

Truck drivers and other parties must adhere to special cargo securement rules so that the cargo does not fall off or shift during transit. These rules require fastening tie-downs securely, using chocks and wedges to prevent the cargo from moving or rolling, and using a specific number of tie-downs to secure cargo. Loads should not obscure side views, and loads should be properly wrapped.

Truck drivers must inspect that the cargo is secured within the first 50 miles after it has been loaded and then every three hours, 150 miles, or a duty change after that, whichever occurs first.

Compliance, Safety, and Accountability Program

The FMCSA is responsible for the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program to identify high-risk carriers with safety problems. This program assigns scores to carriers with similar safety concerns and stores this information online. This system organizes data into seven Behavior Analysis, Safety Analysis, and Safety Improvement Categories, as follows:

  • Unsafe driving, including speeding, improper lane changing, or not wearing a seatbelt
  • Crash indicator, including the frequency and severity of crashes
  • Hours of service compliance, including failing to maintain proper records of duty status
  • Vehicle maintenance, including having faulty brakes, improper load securement, or failing to maintain the vehicle
  • Controlled substances/alcohol, including violations of relevant rules
  • Hazardous materials compliance, including handling hazardous materials in an unsafe manner or failing to accurately label hazardous materials
  • Driver fitness, including failing to maintain driver qualification files

Trucking companies must maintain records to demonstrate they have complied with relevant rules.

Call Our Experienced Albuquerque Truck Accident Lawyers Today to Learn More

Caruso Law Offices has extensive experience investigating truck accident cases and obtaining information to establish violations of FMCSA regulations. Contact us for a free case review.

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