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The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations

Profile of the FMCSA


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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established in 2000 as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the FMCSA employs more than 1,000 people in all 50 states and Washington, DC. Its charge is improving the safety of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and reducing motor vehicle accidents, injuries and fatalities. It also strives to reduce property loss involving large trucks and buses. It does this by regulating the workers involved.


Develops and enforces regulations that balance motor carrier (truck and bus companies) safety with industry efficiency;

Uses safety information systems to focus on higher risk carriers with an eye to enforcing the safety regulations;

Gives authority to operate ("operating authority") to carriers who want to transport passengers, property and hazardous materials;

Targets educational messages to carriers, commercial drivers, and the public; and

Partners with federal, state, and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, safety groups, and organized labor on efforts to reduce bus and truck-related crashes.

The FMCSA supports the development of motor carrier safety requirements and procedures that are consistent or compatible throughout all of North America. Therefore FMCSA works closely with the governments of Canada and Mexico to ensure that these countries' motor carriers, drivers, and vehicles operating in the United States (U.S.) meet the same safety standards as U.S. carriers.

Some of the programs of the FMCSA are:

Commercial Driver's License Program (CDL) 

FMCSA develops, monitors, and ensures compliance with the commercial driver licensing standards for drivers, carriers, and States.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs)

FMCSA develops, maintains and enforces federal regulations that promote carrier safety, industry productivity and new technologies. FMCSRs establish safe operating requirements for commercial vehicle drivers, carriers, vehicles, and vehicle equipment.

Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs)

FMCSA enforces HMRs, which are designed to ensure the safe and secure transportation of hazardous materials.  These rules address the classification of hazardous materials, proper packaging, employee training, hazard communication, and operational requirements.

Household Goods Program

FMCSA regulates interstate household goods movers and requires them to register with the agency. FMCSA has a Web site,, to assist consumers moving across state lines. They also have a toll-free hotline (1-888-368-7328) and a Web site,, for consumer complaints on interstate movers.

Medical Program

The mission of the FMCSA Medical Program is to promote the safety of America's roadways through the publication and implementation of medical regulations, policies and standards that ensure commercial motor vehicle drivers engaged in interstate commerce are physically qualified to do so.

You can learn more about the FMCSA at its Web site. Find a link on our Links page or go to