Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) are federal laws that monitor interstate commercial drivers and their companies in addition to state laws placed on the trucking industry. There are some exceptions, but as a general rule, FMCSR applies to most interstate product or passenger transportation.

FMCSR regulations include:

  • Alcohol and Drug Testing
  • Hazmat Tractor-Trailers Regulations
  • Hours of Service and Log Books
  • Required Inspections
  • Truck Driver Requirements and Qualification Files

The North Carolina truck accident lawyers at Henson Fuerst can help you interpret these complicated regulations. We’ll work hard to prove your case and get you the compensation you need for your injuries.

Alcohol & Drug Testing

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) takes the issue of alcohol and drug usage seriously. Truck drivers must undergo pre-employment drug testing, and they are subject to random drug tests during employment. If there is reasonable suspicion that a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a trucking company is required to take action specified by the FMSCA. Drivers can be tested for:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Opiates (including heroin)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

The North Carolina truck accident lawyers at HensonFuerst understand the complicated requirements set by the FMCSA for truck drivers. We will do everything we can to determine if the use of drugs or alcohol contributed to your truck accident.

Alcohol Regulations

Along with a no-tolerance regulation for drugs, alcohol levels are strictly monitored. A driver is prohibited from operating his vehicle while:

  • using alcohol,
  • having a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .04 percent or greater,
  • or within four hours after consuming alcohol.

Hazmat Tractor-Trailers

Hazmat tractor-trailers are commercial vehicles that carry hazardous materials such as gas or toxic chemicals. The contents of a hazmat tractor-trailer can be flammable and may add an extra element of danger to a truck accident.

If you were injured in a hazmat tractor-trailer accident, contact the North Carolina truck accident lawyers from HensonFuerst immediately. Investigation of hazmat tractor-trailer accidents can be complicated without the help of a legal team familiar with federal vehicle regulations.

Federal Regulations for Hazmat Tractor-trailers

There are regulations in place for hazmat tractor-trailers in addition to standard commercial vehicle safety procedures. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that hazmat tractor-trailer operators must:

  • properly register the vehicle with hazard material permits,
  • properly mark that the vehicle contains hazardous materials,
  • and properly secure materials within the vehicle.

Hours of Service & Log Books

Driver fatigue poses a great danger on the road, causing thousands of accidents a year. In order to reduce the number of crashes caused by driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that drivers not exceed a certain number of consecutive driving hours each day and week.

All professional drivers must keep log books of their hours to document the time they spend each day and week driving. No trucking company can to require or permit a driver to exceed:

  • 11 Hours of driving after having 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • 14 Hours of driving after having 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • 60/70 hours of driving in seven/eight consecutive days of driving.

Passenger Carrying Vehicles

Drivers of passenger-carrying vehicles are even more strictly regulated. They must not exceed:

  • 10 Hours of driving after having eight consecutive hours off duty.
  • 15 Hours of driving after having eight consecutive hours off duty.
  • A maximum of 60/70 hours of driving time in seven/eight consecutive days of driving.

Failure to adhere to these regulations may result in driver inattention, which can lead to accidents. The North Carolina truck accident lawyers at Henson Fuerst want to help if you are the victim of a truck accident caused by a truck driver’s inattention to the road.

Ignoring Hours of Service Regulations

Trucking companies don’t always adhere to hour regulations set by the FMCSA. If you have been injured in a truck accident due to a driver or company’s failure to follow driving hour regulations, Henson Fuerst will fight for your rights to compensation.

Required Vehicle Inspections

To ensure the safety of commercial vehicles, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has vehicle safety standards that trucking companies and their drivers must adhere to. These standards are detailed and cover every area of the vehicle, such as the:

  • accelerator control systems,
  • brake systems,
  • engine,
  • tires,
  • and more.

If you were injured in a truck accident due to a driver’s or trucking company’s failure to follow safety regulations, the North Carolina truck accident lawyers at Henson Fuerst can help.

Truck Driver Requirements

All cases involving serious personal injury and commercial trucks require thorough examination of the drivers’ qualifications and compliance with applicable federal and state laws. Often, the North Carolina truck accident lawyers at Henson Fuerst investigate cases in which the driver was not in compliance with all requirements.

If the driver who caused your accident failed to meet necessary driver requirements, it may help the outcome of your claim. The North Carolina truck accident attorneys from Henson Fuerst will investigate these details in order to help prove your case and get the compensation you need.

Requirements to Drive a Tractor-Trailer

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), a commercial motor vehicle operator must fulfill all of the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have thorough experience and/or training to be able to safely operate a commercial vehicle
  • Have passed an approved pre-employment physical examination and pass routine medical exams every 24 months thereafter
  • Have a valid commercial motor vehicle driver’s license in only one state
  • Have prepared and furnished an employer with a list of any violations of motor vehicle traffic laws in the last 12 months
  • Read and speak English sufficiently to converse with the general public, understand traffic signals, respond to official inquiries, and make entries on reports and records

It is the responsibility of both the driver and the trucking company to ensure these requirements are met.

Driver Qualification Files

By law, trucking companies must maintain a file for each driver who operates commercial motor vehicles on their behalf. The file—referred to as a driver qualification file—must contain:

  • Annual driver record inquiry from the state
  • Certificate of the driver’s road test
  • Current physical examination certificate
  • List or certificate relating to motor vehicle violations of the driver
  • Note relating to the annual review of the driver’s record
  • Written application for employment
  • Written record of all prior employers the company contacted

Sometimes trucking companies will destroy portions of a driver qualification file in order to minimize the amount of information available to an injured party. After an accident, a North Carolina truck accident attorney from Henson Fuerst will immediately send a written request for a copy of the file in order to prevent this destruction of crucial evidence.


The North Carolina truck accident attorneys at Henson Fuerst often discover during investigations that truck companies are not in compliance with federal requirements for the trucking industry. Non-compliance with FMCSR can dramatically alter the outcome of a case and how it is evaluated by an insurance company or jury.

If you have been involved in a truck accident, call us today at (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form. We can help investigate the details surrounding your injury and find out if non-compliance to FMCSR regulations might have been a factor in the accident.

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Raleigh Office

3110 Edwards Mill Rd Suite 100,
Raleigh, NC 27612
P (919) 781-1107
F (919) 781-8048

Rocky Mount Office

2317 Sunset Ave,
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
P (252) 443-2111
F (252) 443-9429

Jacksonville Office

Appointment Only
P (910) 377-7671
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