Who is the Department of Transportation?
The Department of Transportation is transparent in their mission. On their website (dot.gov) they clearly state their purpose is to:
Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.
The goal of the DOT is public safety. Americans travel 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That’s a lot of work, but the DOT is dedicated to serving the public and providing for their best interests. That’s why they employ 55,000 government workers all over the United States. By maintaining public safety and regulating the laws surrounding transportation, the DOT is able to, as they state via their website, “contribute to the nation’s economic growth”.
Alongside the Department of Transportation are FMCSA and FMCSR, which further uphold the regulatory standards put in place for trucking carriers and their operators.
What is FMCSA and FMCSR? Why are they important?
When it comes to the law in a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) case involving negligent truck drivers, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (or FMCSR) are crucial to establishing liability and thereby negligence in a personal injury case.
FMCSR applies to every commercial vehicle on the road. This is defined as any “self-propelled or towed motor vehicle” that is driven or pulled on a highway or interstate for either commerce, property, or to transport passengers.
The above regulations apply when a vehicle:
- Has a vehicle weight or combined weight of 10,001 pounds or more;
- Was designed to be used as transport vehicle for more than (8) eight passengers (this including the driver) for financial gain.
- Is used to transport more than (15) fifteen passengers (this including the driver) and is not designed to transport for compensation;
- Is used for transporting materials deemed to be hazardous (Hazmat) under the law.
FMCSR is considered the minimum requirement as per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Your attorney should never give up if the “defendant” (in this instance the trucking company by which the driver was employed at the time of the accident, injury, or death) has the ability to show they were simply complying with their federal regulations, which are the bare minimum.