How do I know if my business is subject to FMCSA regulations?

If you’re a towing business, you’re probably familiar with the FMCSA and its role in the transportation world. But towing isn’t the same as trucking. Though they both involve very large vehicles, they’re different. So, you might be wondering if your tow truck business is subject to FMCSA regulations. (We’ll also give a brief overview of what the FMCSA does.)

What does the FMCSA do?

The FMCSA is the agency responsible for overseeing safety in the motor carrier world, and they run various programs concerning safety and they create and enforce regulations. Basically, they want to make sure that the roads are as safe as possible by reducing the number of truck-related accidents. They track safety concerns and intervene if a motor carrier’s safety record isn’t up to scratch. They can send warning letters, do inspections, and so on. So, the FMCSA has a lot of safety regulations that motor carriers have to follow, but what about your towing business? Are you subject to the FMCSA’s regulations? We’ll explain.

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How do I know if my business is subject to FMCSA regulations?

Here’s how you can know if you’re subject to FMCSA regulations. You are subject to FMCSA regulations if you operate one of the following types of commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce:

  • A vehicle with a GVWR, GCWR, GVW, or GCW of 10,001 lbs or greater (whichever of those values is greatest)
  • A vehicle that is designed to transport 9-15 people (including the driver) for compensation
  • A vehicle intended to transport 16+ people (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Any vehicle that is used for the transportation of hazardous materials as per the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act and that requires the vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (that includes intrastate Hazardous Materials carriers)

So, if you fit the above circumstances, you need to adhere to the relevant USDOT safety regulations about:

  • Testing for controlled substances and alcohol
  • Driver qualification (which means medical exams)
  • Operation of CMVs, including the parts and accessories that are needed
  • Hours of service
  • Inspection, repair, and maintenance of the vehicle

Where do you find the FMCSA regulations?

Now, the next question is where exactly you can find these FMCSA regulations. To dive deep into these regulations, you can go to the US GPO’s Code of Federal Regulations. All you have to do is choose the most recent year and then go to Title 49 (Parts 300-399). You can also go to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations website.

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So, that’s a brief look at how you can tell whether you’re subject to FMCSA regulations. The FMCSA is serious about safety, so it’s important to know the regulations you’re expected to adhere to and to have the appropriate registration.

We can help you save on your tow truck insurance.

Another important thing is to have the right tow truck insurance for your business to protect yourself from the risks you face. Our team would be happy to help you get some quotes. All you have to do is fill out our online form, give us a call, or message us.


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