Imagine that you’ve been in a collision with a tractor-trailer, a box truck, or a commercial vehicle (vehicles that have a gross weight rating of more than 10,001 tons) without a motor carrier number.
In that scenario, it is possible to assume that there is plenty of
Insurance coverage was available to all who have been injured.
It’s not as easy! State and federal law require commercial motor vehicles to adhere to certain insurance limits that are minimum, based on a variety of factors, however, the limits may not be as high as you’d think.
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If it’s about the safety of the road, nobody has more attention as The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
A government agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation The FMCSA is in charge of overseeing the country’s trucking industry. It also works to decrease the number of accidents involving buses and large trucks.
One way in which the department accomplishes this mission is by implementing its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations also known as FMCSR.
What is FMCSR?
The FMCSR defines the minimum requirements for those who operate commercial motor vehicles in the interstate trade.
Legally speaking, from a perspective, “interstate commerce” includes trade, transportation, or other trade that occurs from one state to the next as well as transportation from one state across the U.S. border.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are intrastate regulations that may impede the federal regulations, and only apply to those operations that remain within the state boundaries. With all the rules and regulations and exemptions, the FMCSR can become complicated quickly.
There’s a popular myth that the rules just apply to tractor-trailers they apply to any vehicle with a mass of at least 10,0001 pounds.
This means that a large-duty pickup truck, like the Ford F-350, pulling a small axle trailer and the tractor mounted on it, has to conform to federal regulations. Even if the vehicle is employed for commercial purposes and is not a commercial vehicle, it could be subject to the FMCSR rules.
Who Does the FMCSR Include?
For commercial enterprises, the federal guidelines apply to all employees who are involved in the running that is a commercial vehicle. Not only the drivers. The rules are also applicable to dispatchers, managers training managers, hiring managers, and supervisors. Driver trainees too must adhere to the rules.
In addition to understanding the rules and their impact on general operations, it’s crucial not to overlook exemptions like exemptions for agriculture.
“The biggest thing that we hear from people who take our courses on regulations is that they have some vehicles in their fleet that they didn’t realize were regulated,” says Tony Douglas, President, and CEO of Smith System.
“There’s the belief that when drivers obtain the commercial licenses that they’re familiar with the regulations. However, the reality is that it’s not the case. Although the regulations require that drivers be taught about this, however, it’s not being enforced. .”
This is why it is crucial for compliance managers and safety managers to be aware of the laws and provide the necessary education to dispatchers, drivers, supervisors, and hiring managers.
“They need to make sure they have everything in place in case there’s a DOT [Department of Transportation] audit .”
Why Does it Matter?
The modern, high-tech, hyper-communicative world has made it more important for businesses to ensure that they are conforming to federal regulations.
In 2010 the DOT initiated an initiative to establish the Safety Measurement System which utilizes a scoring system to determine which businesses will be eligible for the DOT Audit.
Inability to comprehend and adhere to all aspects of the rules can be costly; Based on the type of violations, fines could be very high and can cause economic problems for your company. While not all drivers and managers are familiar with each aspect of safety rules, lawyers do.
In the event of a crash that causes injuries or even death lawyers can use any infraction or violation of safety to blame the entire company, not just the driver. This could result in costly settlements or having to shut down the operation.
Learn the Regulations
Smith Systems’ safety and compliance training courses give managers the skills they require to ensure that your company is in compliance and is following the best standards.
Some of the topics covered include records keeping, best practices for accident reports as well as the required documentation for FMCSR, maintenance rules, driving, and much more. The five-day program is a more comprehensive certificate course.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations regulate motor carriers that haul on interstate trade SS387.9.
Motor carriers who perform “for-hire” non-hazardous property hauling are required to hold at least $750,000 in insurance for liability. If the hazardous materials (as described in 49 C.F.R. SS171.8) or certain types of hazardous substances (as defined by 49 C.F.R.
“for-hire” and private motor carriers must possess at a minimum
$5 million liability insurance.
Contrary to motor carriers carrying property in interstate commerce, 49 C.F.R. SS387.33 defines the minimum liability insurance requirements for transporters of passengers on interstate trade. Cars that have a capacity of 16 people or greater (including drivers) must have at minimum $5,000,000 liability insurance. However, those with a capacity of 15 or fewer passengers (including drivers) must have only $1,500,000 in liability insurance.
Georgia laws only require interstate carriers of passengers to carry insurance coverage for the liability of at least $100,000 per individual and $300,000 for each accident (the total amount available to meet all claims of any person
Injured by an accident) in the event of an accident involving less than 12 passengers. Georgia legislation requires interstate transporters with more than 12 passengers to carry just $100,000 per person as well as $500,000 for each accident.
What This Means
The levels of federal insurance were set in the year 1980 and haven’t changed for the past 41 years. The limits are frequently inadequate in light of the serious accidents and deaths that frequently result from dangerous trucking accidents.
Georgia limits are more limited and are not as than the standards needed. Additionally, the number of fatalities and crashes involving trucks has nearly doubled in the past ten years. This serves as a unique identifier for the vehicle.
When is a USDOT Number Required?
- Between a location within an area and a location beyond the state’s boundaries
- Two places within one state, but the transportation must be via a different state or location outside the United States
Additionally, 35 states, including Puerto Rico, require intrastate commercial vehicle registrations to have a USDOT Number. However, the next 15 states don’t:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
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