What is the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association)?

What is the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association)

The FMCSA, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, came out of the Federal Highway Administration in 2000 in order to best protect against and limit motor carrier related fatalities and injuries on US highways.

Ways the FMCSA takes preventative measures:


  • Strong safety enforcement
  • Identifyin the higher risk motor carriers
  • Improving transportation technology
  • Increasing safety awareness
  • Strengthening motor carrier standards

The FMCSA carries out these measures by developing and enforcing data-driven regulations, harnessing safety information systems for stricter enforcement, targeting educational messages to carriers, commercial drivers, and the public, and partnering with stakeholders including Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, safety groups, and organized labor.

The FMCSA has a very wide reach over motor carriers. It regulates approximately 521,000 freight motor carriers, 13,000 passenger carriers, 17,000 intrastate-only hazardous materials carriers, and approximately 4 million active CDL holders.

FMCSAWith such a large reach, the FMCSA’s work is essential to crash prevention. It estimates that it prevents roughly 15,000 crashes per year, as a result of these programs. This translates into saving roughly 500 lives per year.

There is a set of criteria that determines whether or not a certain motor carrier is subject to FMCSA regulations.

Commercial motor carriers involved in interstate commerce must always follow the United States Department of Transportation regulations, and thus the FMCSA is regulations as well if they are part of the following:

  • A vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 4,537 kg (10.001 lb) or more, whichever is greater;
  • A vehicle designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation;
  • A vehicle designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers

The article entitled “Validating Freight Carrier is Operating Legally: How-to & Why Important” walks readers through two of the main portals shippers should utilize to ensure the carriers they use in their freight and logistics program is operating within the FMCSA standards.

Other articles of interest on motor carriers:

  • Definition and Importance of Gross & Tare Weight in Logistics
  • Freight Cargo Insurance Policy Types Explained
  • Carmack Amendment Explained in Detail
  • Logistics Service Providers (LSP) vs. Motor Carriers
  • The Complete Guide Truckload, LTL and Expedited Freight Capacity
  • Freight Motor Carrier Defined

To learn more about Intek Freight & Logistics and the logistics industry, we invite you to visit our website and subscribe to our weekly blogs.

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