Navigating Road Regulations: A Guide for Fleet Managers and Drivers

Adhering to state and federal commercial fleet regulations protects your drivers, prevents penalties and fees and enhances your company’s reputation. You’ll also be prepared for possible roadside inspections.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations

The FMCSA is an enforcement agency of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). They conduct commercial vehicle inspections, regulate safety standards and issue citations and fines.

As a fleet manager or owner, you’re required to comply with the following criteria:

Hours of Service

The USDOT restricts the amount of time commercial drivers spend on the road. Fatigue is one of the leading causes of vehicular accidents, so sleep is essential for commercial drivers. A driver can drive up to 11 hours within a 14-hour window. They must have 10 consecutive hours off between drives.

Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports

You must complete a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) as part of your pre-trip and post-trip review. Doing so allows you to verify your equipment is in working order. A DVIR includes evaluating brakes and air systems, tires, wheels, rims, windshield wipers, headlights, mirrors, connection equipment, safety equipment and emergency equipment.

International Fuel Tax Agreement

The IFTA is a reporting system enforced in 48 states and 10 Canadian provinces to monitor the flow of fuel tax dollars. You have to submit a log of your miles, fuel purchases and purchase locations to your regional IFTA office every 90 days.

Compliance, Safety, Accountability

This FMCSA scoring system indicates your fleet’s compliance with federal regulations. The score reflects on your company and may impact your professional reputation.

CSA categories include:

  • Unsafe driving
  • Driver fitness
  • Crash indicator
  • HOS compliance
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Controlled substance or alcohol
  • Hazardous material compliance

Pre-Employment Screenings and Random Drug Tests

It’s important to know your operators’ driving histories to determine their reliability on the road. A pre-employment screening includes reviewing accident data, roadside inspection reports and citation records. Conduct random drug and alcohol tests to keep your drivers accountable and prevent injury to themselves and other drivers.

Commercial Vehicle Weight Regulations

Weight restrictions vary depending on vehicle size, type and purpose. Roadways and state regulations also dictate how much weight your fleet may carry during a haul. According to federal standards, the gross weight of a commercial vehicle cannot exceed 80,000 pounds.

You may be subject to roadside or weigh station inspections and could receive a fine or penalty if your vehicle is too heavy. Overloading poses a significant safety risk, too, as it decreases maneuverability and increases stopping distance time.

Speed Regulations for Commercial Vehicles

Driving more than 15 miles above the speed limit is a serious offense in every state. Speeding puts your company at risk of fines and your drivers may receive points on their license. Frequent speeding causes heat buildup and friction that damages mechanical components. Speed regulators and adaptable cruise control mechanisms help monitor driving habits.

Emissions and Environmental Standards for Commercial Fleets

Sustainable fleet management is essential to protecting the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created standards for heavy-duty commercial vehicles to reduce the impact of emissions, including nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

According to the EPA, commercial vehicles must limit nitrogen oxides to:

  • 0.035 grams/horsepower-hour during operation
  • 0.050 grams/horsepower-hour during low loading
  • 10 grams/horsepower-hour during idling

How Fleet Management Technology Supports Compliance

Fleet analytics systems automatically track and log performance data. The technology makes it easy to check tire pressure, fluid levels and other components to help you optimize fleet performance.

Telematics systems like vehicle diagnostics, fuel management and idling monitoring allow you to boost fuel efficiency. Electronic logging devices record driver hours to ensure your operators remain compliant with FMCSA regulations.

Dealing with Penalties and Violations

  • Correct compliance issues immediately after receiving a citation.
  • Thoroughly review your violation and organize relevant documentation.
  • Respond promptly. That may include paying your fine or scheduling a hearing.
  • You have the right to contest a violation if you believe it’s inaccurate. You must provide evidence and documentation to support your claim.
  • Consult a lawyer if you’re unsure how to handle the legal process.
  • Implement appropriate driver training and education to prevent future infractions.
  • Monitor your commercial fleet operations regularly to address potential issues that could result in violations.

Fleet Inspection and Compliance Services at Bauer Built

Our commercial fleet maintenance services include FMCSA, CSA and other federal and state-specific inspections to ensure your vehicles are compliant. Find a Bauer Built location near you to schedule service.

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