How Does the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Work?

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What is the FMCSA?

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The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) was created by the United States Department of Transportation as a way of ensuring the safety and proper management of motor carriers. Established after the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, the FMCSA is a separate department within the Department of Transportation. Its goal is to enact proper measures to lower the number of fatal accidents and casualties caused by motor carriers.

In order to implement its strategies, the FMCSA Operating Authority requires that all motor carriers, including moving companies, register with them. Based on where the moving company is located and where they plan to operate, they may have to register with the FMCSA as well as the DOT.

Upon registration, the FMCSA Operating Authority will provide approval for the geographical area in which the company can operate. The FMCSA also determines the level of financial and insurance responsibilities for the company. Upon registering, the FMCSA will provide the company with an MC (motor carrier) number, which the company will display on each of their trucks.

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In addition to granting MC permissions, the FMCSA also gives FF and MX operating authorities. An FF number is given to freight forwarders, and MX numbers are given to Mexican carriers that operate in U.S. commercial zones.

Again, the purpose of having companies register with the FMCSA is to ensure safety on the highways. They have several strategies in place to reduce the number of fatal accidents. These measures include:
  • Collecting data to create protective rules and regulations as well as a safety information system for high-risk drivers
  • Educating drivers, carriers, and the public about safety measures in place
  • Establishing programs for granting commercial driver's licenses
  • Researching and analyzing road safety statistics
  • Setting up motor carrier safety assistance programs
When choosing a mover, make sure you find one with FMCSA Operating Authority. Since the organization regulates the operating standards of all motor carriers, you will definitely want to entrust your belongings to a moving company that complies with these laws.

There are a couple ways to find out if your potential mover has FMCSA Operating Authority. First, you can check the FMCSA SAFER system at safer.fmcsa.dot.gov. Second, check out one of your mover's marked fleet vehicles by looking for the US DOT number printed on the doors of the cab and again on the rear tractor.

As long as your mover is registered with the FMCSA, you can be sure that your goods will be handled by professionals who are versed in the latest highway safety measures.

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on August 27, 2009

Movers.com - Moving Expert
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