Updated: May 11
Trucking regulations are always in flux. Whether you are a carrier, owner-operator or business operator, you are responsible to follow along with them. Today we will provide you with information on the basic trucking regulations you should be aware of. That's what you should know about the latest regulations in the trucking industry.
Which federal agencies regulate the trucking industry?
Transportation regulations are issued by three different bodies: the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). New rules for truck drivers might come from any of these three agencies each year. States may also issue their trucker regulations.
1- Department of Transportation (DOT)
Established by Congress in 1966, the DOT is a federal cabinet department that oversees numerous administrations having to do with transportation, including, but not limited to, the FMCSA and the NHTSA. New DOT regulations may come directly from the department or through one of its administrations.
2- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
The FMCSA was set up in 2000 with the specific purpose of regulating the trucking industry. FMCSA regulations emphasize the reduction of accidents, injuries and fatalities in large trucks and buses. One of the FMCSA's best-known programs is the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that govern the driving time of truckers.
3- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Created under the Highway Safety Act of 1970, the NHTSA has a broader focus on transportation safety, including passenger cars and commercial vehicles. The administration also covers areas like fuel economy, although its primary mission is vehicle safety.
Driver qualification: Many states require driver qualifications to be verified on an annual basis. Depending on the State, these qualifications could include a minimum age (often 21), a valid commercial driver's licence, proof of a completed driving test, or other requirements. Verify your status to determine what documentation is required.
A blanket of Coverage — BOC3: A BOC3 indicates a processing agent that may process legal documents on your behalf. You can choose a processing agent in each state, but it is usually simpler to choose a general agent who can represent you in all states.
DOT physicals: Drivers are required to have a certified medical examination before driving and every two years thereafter. Those with certain conditions, such as heart disease, may be required to take an annual physical, while those with issues such as extremely high blood pressure may need a physical every three months until the condition is under control. Ensure you keep your examination certificate on your truck at all times.
DOT numbers: In general, you need a DOT number if you are involved in interstate (state-to-state) trade and driving a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Some states also require a Ministry of Transportation number for truckers who work solely in their state.