We get a lot of questions about FMCSA compliance, and as we are not legal experts, we must refer you back to the authority (the Code of Federal Regulations) for those answers. We have assembled for your convenience, some basic answers and links to more detailed answers to the questions we are most often asked.
Who Must Comply?
You are required to obtain a USDOT number if you have a vehicle that:
- Is used to transport the types and quantities of hazardous materials requiring a safety permit in intrastate commerce (see 49 CFR 385.403).
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
- Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
- Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation AND is involved in Interstate commerce:
Trade, traffic, or transportation in the United States
- Between a place in a State and a place outside of such State (including a place outside of the United States);
- Between two places in a State through another State or a place outside of the United States; or
- Between two places in a State as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the State or the United States.
You are required by FMCSA to obtain a USDOT Number and comply with the Federal Regulations.
In general, companies that do the following are required to have interstate Operating Authority (MC number) in addition to a DOT number:
- Transport passengers in interstate commerce (for a fee or other compensation, whether direct or indirect)
- Transport federally-regulated commodities owned by others or arranging for their transport, (for a fee or other compensation, in interstate commerce)
FMCSA operating authority is often identified as an “MC,” “FF,” or “MX” number, depending on the type of authority that is granted. Unlike the USDOT Number application process, a company may need to obtain multiple operating authorities to support its planned business operations. Operating Authority dictates the type of operation a company may run and the cargo it may carry.
Consequences of Violations
Violating FMCSAs regulations can result in heavy fines (up to $175,000), loss of license, increased on-site inspections or having your fleet stripped of its operating authority leading to the inability to earn revenue. In 2015, the total amount settled because of FMCSA compliance violations was $33,751,234.
All FMCSA violations become public record and part of an organizations safety record. Securing new business with brokers and shippers becomes harder. Insurance agents increase your projected risk and your rates rise. Worst of all, too many violations discourage quality drivers. With labor shortages and demand, top drivers choose to work for companies with higher FMCSA compliance rates.
The cost for violating FMCSA regulations is not something your business can afford. Staying compliant with all mandates and regulations should be a top priority for any fleet company that wants to succeed.
Is my ELD Compliant?
The image below links to the official list of compliant ELD providers. If your system is not no the list, you are not in compliance.
Safety Equipment Requirements
Each CMV (except those towed in a driveaway towaway operation) must have the following emergency equipment:
- Fire extinguishers
- Spare fuses
- Warning devices for stopped vehicles
See 49 CFR 393.95 for full emergency equipment specifications, regulations, and exceptions.
More Helpful Resources
Resources for Drivers
For everything from licensing to rollover prevention tips, this page contains links to the forms and information drivers may need.
Motor Carrier Safety Planner
This FMCSA guide will help you to understand the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and how to comply.
If you drive, you will at some point face a roadside inspection. FMCSA has statistics available broken down by state to help you better understand what is most often cited and the frequency of citations issued.
ELD Reference Manuals for FMCSA Compliance
How to Use DVIR (2:15)
Conducting a DVIR (6:22)
Requirements and ELD Services
Say Goodbye to paper logs, sort of. Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandates require fleets to replace their paper logbooks, and eventually non-compliant automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRD), with electronic logging devices that keep track of a driver’s Hours of Service automatically. Paper logs will be needed to augment ELDs when the technology is not available for various reasons. This mandate has created some confusion between an AOBRD and ELD. To clarify, an ELD is an AOBRD that meets additional specific recording requirements laid out by the FMCSA. An ELD must comply with 500 pages of regulations, while an AOBRD only complies with 200 pages of regulations. Either way, now is the time to get it implemented. Our ELD service automatically tracks required information helping you avoid unnecessary fines because your driver forgot to record an address. By avoiding one violation, Fleetistics’ ELD service pays for itself. For a free trial of the Fleetistics Geotab ELD service call us today at 855-300-0527. For more information, here is a checklist to help your organization prepare for the ELD mandate.
- Specifies who is covered by the rule and exceptions to it.
- Provides for ELDS to be self-certified and includes technical specifications to ensure ELDs are standardized and compliant.
- Includes a phased implementation timeline to give drivers and carriers time to comply.
- Includes provisions to help prevent data tampering and harassment of drivers.
- Creates standard data displays and data transfer processes, making it easier to demonstrate compliance and faster to share RODS with safety officials.
ELD And Hours of Service
The ELD final rule does not change any of the basic hours-of-service rules or exceptions. For more information regarding hours-of-service. Who Must Comply? Most drivers must follow the HOS Regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle or CMV. In general, a CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce and fits into any of these descriptions:
- Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
- Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
- Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
- Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
- Read more
- ELDs make it easier, simpler, and quicker to keep driver logs.
- ELDs limit mistakes and reduce form and manner errors.
- ELDs provide information to drivers and motor carriers so that drivers can better manage fatigue and schedule issues.
- ELDs correctly record location and accurate information to easily track duty status.
- ELDs are a good management tool and back office asset to improve productivity and enhance compliance.
- With ELDs, there is less paperwork, and driver logs are orderly, clear, and accurate.
Keep Your Drivers Compliant
It’s not practical to follow your drivers around all of the time. Fleetistics’ In-Cab video allows you to check on your drivers to ensure compliance with FMCSA regulations. Driver violations and trailers attached to the tractors can be monitored. Armed with the driver information that our ELD solution and In-Cab video collects, preemptive measures such as training, policies, or culture, can be taken to avoid FMCSA compliance violations. Implementing effective policies, developing a safety culture, and driver training play a major role in compliance. It takes time to develop new processes and to properly test various solutions. That’s why your company should get started on ELD today. With the deadline of 12/16/2019, time is running out.
Maintaining proper records and being able to access them in the event of a FMCSA investigation, audit, or inspection is critical to avoiding, or minimizing, any fines. Most records can be kept on computers or servers that are immune to alteration, modification, or erasure of underlying data and enable the production of an accurate and unaltered paper copy. This is why ELDs must be tamper-proof. Your organization can be liable and is obligated to protect records kept on a server or computer. Fleetistics’ solutions collect and store a ton of information, you can conveniently pull inspection reports, driver data, and more for audits or investigations.
DVIR - Fleet Maintenance & Safety
Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) must be performed before and after a trip to ensure vehicles are in safe and proper operating condition. FMCSA compliance rules require all reports be kept on record for three months from the date of preparation. With Fleetistics, drivers can easily complete an end-to-end inspection. Simply select defects, add comments, review previous inspections, and certify repairs that are performed to fix reported defects. The easy-to-use DVIR improve compliance among drivers. Your organization can view past reports to see defects, who identified the defect, and who repaired it. Reports can be sorted to show all DVIRs or just those with defects, allowing you greater visibility to the health of your fleet. This way, units in violation are kept off the road greatly reducing FMCSA violations.
Exempt Driver Account
Moving ELD to Rental or New Vehicle
This is a bit tricky and it is super important to follow these steps or you will create issues with the data. If less than the days in a 7/8 day ruleset, paper logs can be used.
- Make the GPS device historic in Geotab. Under Vehicles>(select device)>More Details>Unplug Device>Historical
- Do not select “REMOVE” the device from Geotab. This will delete the data and leave a gap in your records. This cannot be undone.
- Install into the rental vehicle to pick up the VIN.
- Utilized the Drive app as normal. When done, perform the same steps to move the GPS device to the next vehicle.
- Historic – saves data for future reference but separates it from new data
- Remove – deletes all associated data
150 Air Miles
A driver is exempt if operating within 150 miles of the point of origin. Once past 150 miles a rule set must be selected. A good example would be yard moves and shuttling vehicles. A second profile may be needed to operate when exempt. Watch the FMCSA video for more details.