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FMCSA Regulations for Trucking Companies


Tractor trailers are some of the largest and most dangerous vehicles on North Carolina roadways. They require drivers that can safely operate and control these massive vehicles to avoid severe and even deadly accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the minimum standards pertaining to the administration of CDL programs. States may adopt their own application procedures, including fees, renewal, and reinstatement if necessary. Each business that hires truck drivers must comply with the FMCSA’s CDL program.

FMCSA Regulations for Trucking Companies

The FMCSA monitors the commercial drivers’ licenses of interstate truck drivers. Carriers are the companies behind trucks and their operators. Before a carrier may put a truck on an interstate highway, it needs to follow the FMCSA regulations. Interstate trucking is overseen by the Federal Department of Transportation. Generally, carriers that operate only within North Carolina (intrastate) need to comply with state regulations, but North Carolina has adopted most of the federal regulations, with some modifications.

The FMCSA regulations require carriers to register with the FMCSA and obtain a USDOT number that identifies the vehicle owner and helps to monitor safety data from any crash investigations or review for compliance. The FMCSA also regulates interstate truck drivers. Interstate commercial truck drivers need to meet specific qualifications and follow federal regulations. They must have a commercial driver’s license.

Despite the tight deadlines imposed by a trucking company, interstate truck drivers must adhere to strict hours of service rules and break schedules. The hours of service regulations restrict how many hours a truck driver can drive in a 24-hour period. These restrictions are put in place to reduce fatigued driving, which can reduce the mount of accidents caused by fatigued driving.

Hiring Requirements for Trucking Companies

Employers must request employment history information for the 10 years prior to when they employ a CDL driver. This request must be made at the time of a driver’s job application. Trucking companies may not knowingly employ a driver who has had their license suspended, canceled, or revoked in the past. The same applies to drivers who have been disqualified from driving due to criminal or civil penalties.

Trucking companies must have access to their driver’s road test certificate, medical examiner’s certificate and annually review their drivers driving record. All of these are required by the FMCSA for hiring a driver to drive for a trucking company, and all of these should be kept in the driver’s file and made available for easy access.

Trucking companies must conduct background checks and drug and alcohol testing of truck drivers before hiring them and putting them behind the wheel of their trucks. If a truck driver gets into an accident because of drunk driving, it could be possible to hold the truck company personally liable for the damages.

Trucking companies can also be held liable for a truck driver’s negligence in the scope of employment. They can also be held liable for their own negligent hiring, supervision or even training of their drivers when their direct negligence results in an accident. Therefore the background and driving record checks are arguably the most important part of the hiring process.

Representation for Trucking Company Negligence

If you or a loved one have been severely injured due to the negligence of a trucking company, you need to speak with a skilled tractor trailer accident lawyer.

Maginnis Law’s lead tractor trailer accident lawyer, T. Shawn Howard, is experienced in handling complex tractor trailer accident cases. Mr. Howard is a million dollar and multi-million-dollar advocate, meaning that he has obtain settlements for his client in excess of $1,000,000 and $2,000,000.

Maginnis Law handles North Carolina personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis – meaning that you pay no attorneys’ fees unless we reach a settlement or obtain a verdict or settlement in your case.

You can contact the Raleigh personal injury attorneys of Maginnis Howard at (919) 526-0450, by email at, or through our contact page.