Federal Trucking Regulations

Navigating Federal Trucking Regulations can be overwhelming. Learn what they are, how they impact truck accident cases, and how Dressie Law Firm can guide you through it.

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Trucking Industry Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the primary federal agency that regulates trucking operations at the national level. Its regulations include provisions for commercial driver’s license standards, commercial motor vehicle maintenance standards, drivers’ qualifications, and hours of service.

Truckers who violate FMCSR requirements may face fines and license suspension. They may also face criminal penalties, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. If the trucker’s violation causes an accident, they will be subject to civil claims by the victims for compensation.

Besides truckers, you too should understand trucking regulations. Not that you’re required to comply with them, but to know your rights in case you get involved in a trucking accident. Knowing the rules will put you in a good position if you fall victim to a negligent truck driver or company. 

If you are a victim of a trucking accident in Atlanta, GA, Dressie Law Firm is here for you. Our attorneys can help you navigate the legal proceedings and get you the compensation you deserve for your damages. 

    Understanding Federal Trucking Regulations

    Federal trucking regulations are rules governing commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate commerce and the responsibilities of their owners and operators. These include safe driving practices that every truck driver should follow.

    The FMCSA regulations in the U.S. cover various issues, including hours of service, driver qualification requirements, and truck and bus safety. They also cover drug and alcohol testing and weight limits. The purpose of these rules is to improve the safety of commercial motor vehicles and minimize accidents across state lines.

    What Are the Current Federal Trucking Regulations?

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) aim to set the minimum standards for commercial motor vehicle operations. They also seek to reduce fatalities and crashes involving large trucks.

    There are four sets of regulations under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations:

    • FMCSA Regulations and Interpretations

    • Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs

    • Hazardous Materials Regulations under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act that outline the standards for safely transporting hazardous materials

    • Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that govern the Federal Highway Administration operations standards and Federal Railroad Administration

    There are at least 42 FMCSA regulations. Below are the key aspects these regulations cover:

    • Vehicle maintenance

    • Commercial driver’s license (CDL)

    • Hours of service

    • Insurance requirements

    • Drug and alcohol testing

    • Gross vehicle weight rating and gross combination weight rating

    • Driver qualifications

    • Driver behavior

    • Speed limits

    The Role of Federal Regulations in Minimizing Truck Commercial Motor Vehicle Accidents

    Federal regulations have a crucial role in minimizing truck accidents and promoting road safety. For instance, regulating working hours ensures the driver behind the wheel is in good shape to operate the vehicle. Many crashes involving large trucks result from overworked drivers. Also, a poorly maintained truck can lead to mechanical failures and, eventually, fatal accidents.

    Note that these regulations only apply to commercial vehicle carriers. Our guide on commercial vehicle laws vs public transport regulations can help you understand the difference between commercial and public transport carrier regulations. 

    How Regulations Impact Liability

    Federal trucking regulations can make the process of determining liability relatively easier. In case of an accident, the victims may be able to prove the truck driver’s liability if they can prove they violated these regulations. 

    Moreover, trucking regulations require commercial drivers and companies to keep accurate records of inspections, cargo, and driver qualifications and tests. These can be accessed and used as evidence for your claim.

    Consequences of Non-Compliance

    FMCSA expects all truckers to abide by the set federal trucking regulations. Failure to do so will lead to license suspension, fines, or criminal charges. 


    The FMCSA imposes fines on negligent trucking companies. FMSCA regulations require all motor carriers to conduct random drug tests, train drivers before hiring them, keep accurate records, conduct regular inspections, and many other requirements. Failure to adhere to these requirements can result in fines going up to $50,000 per violation.

    Out-of-service orders

    Certain violations can result in the issuance of out-of-service orders until the trucking company takes corrective measures. Out-of-service vehicles are a liability to trucking companies, as they come with maintenance expenses, delivery delay penalties, and higher insurance premiums.

    Violating an out-of-service order can lead to fines of up to tens of thousands of dollars.

    Criminal penalties

    Besides or instead of civil penalties, non-compliance with the FMCSA regulations can lead to criminal charges and penalties. This is the case when the FMCSA determines that the driver willfully, intentionally, or recklessly violated the regulations.

    Criminal penalties can include imprisonment, fines, or both.

    Disqualification from operating a vehicle

    Violating the FMCSA regulations can also result in disqualifying the driver from operating the truck for a given period following a traffic violation, such as DUI, leaving an accident scene, excessive speeding, improper lane changes, and reckless driving.

    The disqualification period depends on the severity of the offense. Trucking companies that allow a disqualified driver to operate a vehicle can face serious penalties.

    Operating authority revocation

    If a trucking company has repeatedly violated FMCSA regulations or in cases of serious violations, the FMCSA may revoke the company’s operating authority. This means the company can no longer operate vehicles to transport cargo interstate.

    You can find the FMCSA standards and regulations on eCFR.

    Why Choose the Dressie Law Firm?

    If you have been a victim of a trucking accident, Dressie Law Firm understands your pain. We have worked with hundreds of truck accident victims in Atlanta and witnessed the mental, physical, and financial distress they go through.

    This is why our team of over 20 personal injury professionals is committed to helping victims obtain maximum compensation for their losses. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients over the past two decades. We are here to help you, too.

    Our Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney can guide you through this challenging time and ensure you have the legal representation needed to aggressively fight against the trucking company, driver, and insurance company.

    Reach out to Dressie Law Firm for a free consultation today!

    The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

    If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

    Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!