Truck Book icon
Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc. Publishers
Bumper to Bumper Truck Book logo
The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations

Profile of the DOT

DOT logo

The Department of Transporation was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966 and began operation officially in April, 1967. The DOT's mission is to serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system, a system that should meet vital national interests and enhance the quality of life of the American people, now and inthe future. The DOT's responsibilites thus include not only trucks and highways, but also

  • railways and trains
  • airways and planes
  • waterways and boats
  • subways and mass transit systems

even pipelines.

Last month we took a look at the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration. (See our Archives.) The FMCSA is a separate administration of the Department of Transportation. It's one of the ways in which the DOT works to ensure safe and efficient transportation via roadways. Other agencies of the DOT that are concerned with trucking are

  • the Federal Highway Administration
  • the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Research and Innivative Technology Administration

and to some extent, the Surface Transportation Board.

The Secretary of Transportation provides the DOT with leadership. The Secretary is also the principal adviser to the President in all matters relating to federal transportation programs. The Office of the Secretary oversees the formulation of national transportation policy and promotes intermodal transportation. Other responsibilities range from negotiating and implementing international transportation agreements, assuring the fitness of US airlines, enforcing airline consumer protection regulations, issuing of regulations to prevent alcohol and illegal drug misuse in transportation systems and preparing transportation legislation. Last month, the US Senate confirmed Ray LaHood as transportation secretary. He is reported to support tolls on new highways although not for existing highways. He would also support higher vehicle-mileage standards and stricter emissions standards for cars. One of his first concerns will be how to use funds in the proposed $825 billion economic stimulus package.

You can learn more about the DOT on the Website at http://www.dot.gov/about_dot.html.