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Learn about the Federal Motor Carrier Act and Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act

The trucking industry is governed by two major pieces of federal legislation, the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 and the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.

Motor Carrier Act

The Motor Carrier Regulatory Reform and Modernization Act of 1980, more commonly known as the Motor Carrier Act (MCA), is one of the most important pieces of U.S. federal legislation ever written for the transportation industry. This historic law called for major deregulation and increased competition, making sweeping changes to the rules and regulations set forth in the 1930s, in the early days of the growing interstate trucking industry.federal motor carrier act

“It will remove 45 years of excessive and inflationary government restrictions and red tape,” said President Jimmy Carter who passed the bill. He noted that the legislation would reduce consumer costs and conserve hundreds of millions of gallons of fuel each year. The MCA took deregulatory actions against fixed rates and other outmoded practices. It also set forth safety standards ranging from liability insurance to the transport of hazardous materials. The public law has been amended over the years and continues to evolve to adapt to industry changes.

Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act

The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act was passed in 1999 to significantly reduce accidents, injuries and deaths involving large trucks and buses. To carry out these policies, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) created the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2000.  Some of the act’s measures were also designed to improve vehicle performance and efficiency.

The FMCSA focuses on safety through policies, education, and inspection. Employees also look at  how unsafe behaviors can be corrected once they have been identified. The agency continuously updates the federal motor carrier safety regulations  to improve on the requirements.

The latestmandates affect every motor carrier. These mandates include:

  • Entry level driver training requirements
  • Speed limiter mandate
  • E-log mandate
  • Drug and alcohol clearing house mandate
  • Driver coercion mandate
  • New changes to the agency’s safety fitness determination

Hours of service exemptionsThe FMCSA requires that drivers of commercial motor vehicles must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) and meet the follow qualifications:

  • At least 21 years old
  • Able to read and speak English
  • Knowledge and skills to safely operate the vehicle
  • Be physically qualified

To find out more about the federal motor carrier safety regulations latest guidelines, visit the agency’s website.

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