This manual has been prepared to act as an easy reference guide for establishing the foundation for a basic safety program within a transportation operation. It also provides information and insight into some of the more commonly referenced requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR).
Who must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) safety regulations? To answer this question, consider the following statements in terms of your own operation.
- We operate:
- A truck (over 10,000 pounds) across state lines.
- A truck (over 10,000 pounds) within one state, but as part of a through movement that begins or ends in another state.
- A bus designed to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation across state lines.
- A bus designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation across state lines.
- We haul hazardous materials, either across state lines or within one state.
If any of the statements in #1 apply to your operation, you are probably subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). If statement #2 applies to your operation, you are most likely subject to the Hazardous Materials Regulations. Furthermore, if any of the statements above apply to your operation, you are most likely subject to the Minimum Financial Responsibility [insurance] Requirements. If you are an “intrastate” carrier, be aware that many states have adopted (either in part, or in whole) the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and consequently, some or all of these rules may still apply. If you are uncertain whether your operation is subject to these regulations, please contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (a listing of regional offices can be found inside the front cover).
We have deliberately excluded many items that can be found in the DOT regulations and other, more comprehensive safety programs, in order to assist those operations that are only beginning their safety and compliance efforts.
Although we believe that comprehensive manuals should be readily available to any manager responsible for safety and compliance, we realize that such manuals contain large volumes of information and require many hours of reading, comprehension, and hard work to integrate the information into your operation. Such a volume of information may overwhelm an operation to the point that very little may actually be accomplished in the areas of safety and compliance. It is with this thought in mind that we developed this simplified manual.
The Federal regulations do periodically change, and while we fully intend to make periodic updates to this manual, you should always refer to the current regulations for any changes or updates that may have occurred since the printing of this manual.
This manual is advisory in nature and does not warrant, guarantee, or otherwise certify compliance with laws, regulations, requirements, or guidelines of any local, state, or Federal agency or legislative and/or governing body.
We sincerely hope that this manual serves its purpose and helps those operations that might not otherwise get their safety program started. We also hope that for those who already have a program in place this manual might help make your program more efficient and successful with loss control.