Federal Safety Laws and Regulations

49 CFR Part 40- Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs – contains the federal rules and procedures for transportation workplace drug and alcohol testing programs.  Part 40 covers responsibilities that employers must meet in order to comply with all applicable drug and alcohol requirements and procedures; requirements for persons authorized to collect urine specimens for DOT drug testing; requirements for collection sites, forms, equipment, and supplies used in DOT urine collections; rules that must be followed during the urine specimen collection process; requirements and testing/reporting procedures for drug testing laboratories; qualifications and duties for acting as a medical review officer (MRO) in the DOT drug testing program; protocol for split specimen tests; definitions, consequences, and procedures concerning problems in drug tests; requirements for persons authorized to conduct DOT alcohol tests; requirements for testing sites, forms, equipment, and supplies used in DOT alcohol testing; rules that must be followed during alcohol screening and confirmation tests; definitions, consequences, and procedures concerning problems in alcohol testing; requirements for substance abuse professionals and the return-to-duty process; rules governing confidentiality and the release of drug/alcohol testing and other medical information; roles and responsibilities of service agents; and rules and procedures for public interest exclusions of service agents not acting in a responsible manner.

49 CFR Part 355- Compatibility of State Laws and Regulations Affecting Interstate Motor Carrier Operations – contains the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules to ensure that state laws and regulations pertaining to commercial motor vehicle safety are compatible with appropriate parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.  Part 355 provides guidelines for a continuous regulatory review of state laws and regulations and establishes deadlines for states to achieve compatibility with appropriate parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations with respect to interstate commerce.  The provisions of Part 355 apply to any state that adopts or enforces laws or regulations pertaining to commercial motor vehicle safety in interstate commerce.

49 CFR Part 365- Rules Governing Applications for Operating Authority – contains the FMCSA rules governing applications for all individuals and businesses requesting authority to operate as motor carriers.  All applications must be reviewed for consistency with the FMCSA’s operational safety fitness policy and require the finding that the applicant is fit, willing and able to perform the involved operations and to comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory provisions.  Individuals and businesses requesting authority to operate as motor passenger common or contract carriers must complete the safety certification.  Applicants subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations at 49 CFR, Chapter 3, Subchapter B (Parts 350-399) must certify as follows: Applicant has access to and is familiar with all applicable U.S. DOT regulations relating to the safe operation of commercial vehicles and it will comply with these regulations.  In so certifying, applicant is verifying that, at a minimum, it:

  • Has in place a system and an individual responsible for ensuring overall compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations;
  • Can produce a copy of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the Hazardous Materials Transportation Regulations;
  • Has in place a driver safety training/orientation program;
  • Has prepared and maintains an accident register (49 CFR 390.15);
  • Is familiar with DOT regulations governing driver qualifications and has in place a system for overseeing driver qualification requirements (49 CFR Part 391);
  • Has in place policies and procedures consistent with DOT regulations governing driving and operational safety of motor vehicles, including drivers hours of service and vehicle inspection, repair, and maintenance (49 CFR Parts 392, 395 and 396); and
  • Is familiar with and will have in place on the appropriate effective date, a system for complying with U.S. DOT regulations governing alcohol and controlled substances testing requirements (49 CFR 382 and 49 CFR Part 40).

If applicant operates only vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating under 10,000 pounds and will not transport hazardous materials, applicant is exempt from the U.S. DOT safety fitness regulations; however, applicant must certify as follows: Applicant is familiar with and will observe general operational safety guidelines, as well as any applicable state and local laws and requirements relating to the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles. The rules contained in Part 365 also cover how to oppose requests for authority; the application process; the procedures that enable carriers to merge, transfer, or lease their operating rights; and special rules for certain Mexico-domiciled carriers.

49 CFR Part 379- Preservation of Records– contains the FMCSA rules that govern the retention and preservation of records by motor carriers and brokers, water carriers, and household freight forwarders.  Part 379 specifies the requirements records required to be retained; protection, storage, and preservation of records; rules for companies going out of business; and disposition and retention of records. Appendix A to Part 379 (Schedule of Records and Period of Retention) stipulates that supporting data for periodical reports of accidents, inspections, tests, hours of service, repairs, etc. must be retained for a period of six months.

49 CFR Part 382- Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing– establishes programs designed to help prevent accidents and injuries resulting from the misuse of alcohol or use of controlled substances by drivers of commercial motor vehicles.  Subpart A sets forth general procedures that must be followed when conducting alcohol or controlled substances testing; Subpart B contains (1) specific prohibitions with regard to the use of alcohol and controlled substances by drivers who perform safety-sensitive functions, and (2) the consequences of a positive drug/alcohol test or the refusal to submit to testing; Subpart C outlines requirements with regard to the various types of drug and alcohol testing, (e.g., pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, random, return-to-duty, and follow-up testing), Subpart D outlines the requirements for handling of test results, records retention, and confidentiality; Subpart E specifies the consequences for drivers engaging in substance use-related conduct; Subpart F describes employer obligations for providing information, training, and referral regarding alcohol misuse and controlled substances use.

49 CFR Part 383- Commercial Driver’s License Standards; Requirements and Penalties– contains the FMCSA rules that govern commercial motor vehicle driver’s license standards, requirements, and penalties.  Part 383 is intended to help prevent or reduce truck and bus accidents, fatalities, and injuries by requiring drivers to have a single commercial driver’s license and by disqualifying drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles in an unsafe manner.  Part 383:

  • Prohibits a commercial motor vehicle driver from having more than one commercial motor vehicle driver’s license;
  • Requires a driver to notify the driver’s current employer and the driver’s state of domicile of certain convictions;
  • Requires that a driver provide previous employment information when applying for employment as an operator of a commercial motor vehicle;
  • Prohibits an employer from allowing a person with a suspended license to operate a commercial motor vehicle;
  • Establishes periods of disqualification and penalties for those persons convicted of certain criminal and other offenses and serious traffic violations, or subject to any suspensions, revocations, or cancellations of certain driving privileges;
  • Establishes testing and licensing requirements for commercial motor vehicle operators;
  • Requires states to give knowledge and skills tests to all qualified applicants for commercial drivers’ licenses which meet the Federal standard;
  • Sets forth commercial motor vehicle groups and endorsements;
  • Sets forth the knowledge and skills test requirements for the motor vehicle groups and endorsements;
  • Sets forth the Federal standards for procedures, methods, and minimum passing scores for states and others to use in testing and licensing commercial motor vehicle operators; and
  • Establishes requirements for the state-issued commercial license documentation.

49 CFR Part 384- State Compliance with Commercial Driver’s License Program– contains the FMCSA rules to ensure states’ compliance with the commercial driver’s license provisions of section 12009(a) of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (49 U.S.C. 31311(a)).  The rules of Part 384 include the minimum standards for the actions states must take to be in substantial compliance with the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 31311(a), establish procedures for determinations to be made of such compliance by states, and specify the consequences of state noncompliance.

49 CFR Part 385- Safety Fitness Procedures– establishes the FMCSA’s procedures to determine the safety fitness of motor carriers, to assign safety ratings, to direct motor carriers to take remedial action when required, and to prohibit motor carriers receiving a safety rating of “unsatisfactory” from operating a CMV.  Part 385 also establishes the safety assurance program for a new entrant motor carrier initially seeking to register with FMCSA to conduct interstate operations.  Additionally, Part 385 describes the consequences that will occur if the new entrant fails to maintain adequate basic safety management controls.

49 CFR Part 390- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; General– establishes general requirements pertaining to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.  These requirements are not intended to preclude the establishment or enforcement of state or local laws relating to safety, provided that compliance with such laws would not prevent full compliance with these regulations.  The rules and information within Part 390 specify:

  • Requirement for motor carrier observance of driver regulations;
  • Prohibition of aiding or abetting the violation of the rules of this chapter;
  • Requirement for motor carrier assistance with accident investigations and special studies;
  • Use of additional equipment and accessories;
  • Requirement for filing a motor carrier identification report;
  • Relief from regulations to any motor carrier or driver operating a commercial motor vehicle to provide emergency relief during an emergency;
  • Locations of motor carrier service centers;
  • Requirements for location and copies of records or documents required by this subchapter;
  • Prohibition of falsification, reproduction, or alteration of certificates, reports, and records required by this subchapter;
  • Requirements for using one type of commercial motor vehicle to perform the functions normally performed by another type of commercial motor vehicle; and
  • Penalties for the violation of the rules set forth in this subchapter. For more information on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations specific to bus transit, please see Appendix A.

49 CFR Part 391- Qualifications of Drivers and Longer Combination Vehicle (LCV) Driver Instructors– establishes FMCSA rules for (1) minimum qualifications for persons who drive commercial motor vehicles as, for, or on behalf of motor carriers, and (2) minimum duties of motor carriers with respect to the qualifications of their drivers.  Under Subpart B, a person shall not drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he/she is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle, and, with limited exceptions (outlined in Subpart G), a motor carrier shall not require or permit a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle unless that person is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.  A person is qualified to drive a motor vehicle if he/she:

  • Is at least 21 years old;
  • Can read and speak English;
  • Can, by reason of experience and/or training, safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he/she drives;
  • Is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with the requirements of Subpart E;
  • Has a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued by only one state or jurisdiction;
  • Has prepared and furnished the motor carrier that employs him/her with a list of violations of motor vehicle traffic laws and ordinances (other than violations involving only parking) of which the driver has been convicted or on account of which he/she has forfeited bond or collateral during the preceding 12 months, or has certified that he/she has not been convicted of or forfeited bond or collateral on account of any violation which must be listed;
  • Is not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle for any of the following, as outlined in §391.15:
    • Loss of driving privileges;
    • Criminal and other offenses;
    • Violation of out-of-service orders;
    • Violation of prohibition of texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle; or
    • Violation of a restriction on using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving a commercial motor vehicle;
  • Has successfully completed a driver’s road test and has been issued a certificate of driver’s road test as stipulated in §391.31 of Subpart D, or has presented an operator’s license or a certificate of road test which the motor carrier that employs him/her has accepted as equivalent to a road test as stipulated in §391.33 of Subpart D.

Subpart C outlines the requirements that must be met by a commercial motor vehicle driver’s application for employment, the investigations and inquiries that motor carriers must make with respect to the background and character of each driver it employs, and the annual inquiry and review of driving record and record of motor vehicle traffic violations that motor carriers must perform with respect to each driver it employs.  Subpart F outlines the general requirements of motor carriers with respect to maintaining driver qualification and driver investigation history files.  Subpart G provides limited exemptions for which certain rules of Part 391 do not apply.

49 CFR Part 392- Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles– contains FMCSA operating rules with which every motor carrier, its officers, agents, representatives, and employees responsible for the management, maintenance, operation, or driving of commercial motor vehicles, or the hiring, supervising, training, assigning, or dispatching of drivers, must comply.  These include general rules with respect to ill or fatigued drivers; drugs and other substances; alcohol prohibition; conformance of schedules to speed limits; use and inspection of equipment; inspection of cargo, cargo securement devices, and systems; operating authority; and prohibited transportation.  This part also contains the requirements for stopping and slowing down at railroad grade crossings; safe clearance at highway-rail crossings; cautions to be exercised under hazardous conditions; the use of seat belts; the use of emergency signals when commercial motor vehicles are stopped; the use of lighted lamps and reflectors; and fueling precautions.  This part also covers prohibited practices with regard to the operation of buses; towing or pushing loaded buses; riding within closed commercial motor vehicles without proper exits; the use of commercial motor vehicles when carbon monoxide is detected; and texting and/or using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving.

49 CFR Part 393- Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation– establishes FMCSA requirements and specifications for parts and accessories necessary for the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles.  Part 393 covers the requirements for lamps, reflective devices, and electrical wiring; brakes; glazing and window construction; fuel systems; coupling devices and towing methods; miscellaneous parts and accessories; emergency equipment; protection against shifting and falling cargo; and frames, cab and body components, wheels, steering, and suspensions systems.

49 CFR Part 395- Hours of Service of Drivers– establishes FMCSA rules and regulations with respect to hours of service of commercial motor vehicle drivers.  Under §395.5 of this part:

  •  No motor carrier shall permit or require any driver of a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle:
    • More than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty; or
    • For any period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.
  • No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, for any period after:
    • Having been on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or
    • Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.

This part also contains rules pertaining to driver’s record of duty status, declaring drivers out of service, and the use of automatic on-board recording devices.

49 CFR Part 396- Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance– contains the FMCSA rules and regulations governing the inspection, repair, and maintenance of commercial motor vehicles.  Under this part, every motor carrier is required to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control.  Part 396 requires that:

  •  The parts and accessories detailed in 49 CFR Part 393, and any additional parts and accessories which may affect safety of operation, must be kept in safe and proper operating condition at all times;
  • Pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights in buses shall be inspected at least every 90 days;
  • Every motor carrier shall ensure that each motor vehicle subject to its control is properly lubricated and free of oil and grease leaks; and
  • A motor vehicle shall not be operated in such a condition as to likely cause an accident or a breakdown.

Section 396.9 outlines the rules with respect to personnel authorized to perform inspections, prescribed inspection report, motor vehicles declared “out of service,” and disposition of the inspection report to the motor carrier provider.

Under §396.11, every motor carrier shall require its drivers to report, and every driver shall prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day’s work on each vehicle operated, covering at least the following parts and accessories:

  • Service brakes including trailer brake connections;
  • Parking brake;
  • Steering mechanism;
  • Lighting devices and reflectors;
  • Tires;
  • Horns;
  • Windshield wipers;
  • Rear vision mirrors;
  • Coupling devices;
  • Wheels and rims; and
  • Emergency equipment.

Section 396.11 also specifies other requirements for driver vehicle inspection reports, including report content, corrective action, and retention period for reports.

In addition, Part 396 contains rules with respect to periodic inspection; inspector qualification; inspection record-keeping requirements; equivalency to periodic inspection; and brake inspector qualifications.

49 CFR Part 571- Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards– sets forth requirements for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment.  Parts 571.101 through 571.500 of Subpart B provide the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).  These standards are regulations for the manufacture and sale of new vehicles and equipment that reflect minimum safety performance requirements. They are organized under the general headings of “Crash Avoidance, “Crashworthiness,” “Post-Crash Standards,” and “Other Regulations.” Those FMVSSs applicable to transit buses and OTRBs include the following

  • FMVSS No. 101, Controls and Displays—controls must be operable by driver with seat belt fastened, and includes requirements for telltales and warning indicators;
  • FMVSS No. 102, Transmission shift lever sequence—vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions must have transmission braking at vehicle speeds below 40 km/h (25 mph);
  • FMVSS No. 103, Defrosting and defogging systems—must have a system;
  • FMVSS No. 104, Windshield wiping and washing—must meet wiper speed and windshield washing area per SAE J942;
  • FMVSS No. 106, Brake hoses—air brake hoses must meet performance requirements;
  • FMVSS No. 108, Lamps, reflective devices and associated equipment—must meet performance and location on vehicle requirements;
  • FMVSS No. 111, Rearview mirror—must have unit magnification mirrors of specified size, may have additional mirrors, i.e., convex;
  • FMVSS No. 119, Tires for vehicles with GVWR > 4,536 kg—tires on vehicle must meet performance and labeling requirements;
  • FMVSS No. 120, Tire selection and rims and motor home/recreation vehicle trailer load carrying capacity information for motor vehicles with GVWR > 4,536 kg—sum of load ratings of tires must be equal to or greater than the gross axle weight ratings to prevent vehicle overloading;
  • FMVSS No. 121, Air brake systems—specifies stopping distance performance and that vehicles be equipped with an antilock brake system;
  • FMVSS No. 124, Accelerator control systems—removing force on accelerator requires return to idle in specified time;
  • FMVSS No. 205, Glazing materials—glazing must meet performance requirements;
  • FMVSS No. 207, Seating systems—driver’s seat must meet performance requirements;
  • FMVSS No. 208, Occupant crash protection—driver’s seat must be equipped with Type 1 or Type 2 seat belt assembly;
  • FMVSS No. 209, Seat belt assemblies—driver’s belt must meet performance. requirements;
  • FMVSS No. 210, Seat belt assembly anchorages—for driver’s belt, must meet strength requirements;
  • FMVSS No. 217, Emergency exits and window retention—must have emergency exits meeting size and location requirements that meet performance and labeling requirements;
  • FMVSS No. 302, Flammability of interior materials—must meet burn resistance performance requirements;
  • FMVSS Nos. 403 & 404, Platform lift systems for motor vehicles and platform lift installations in motor vehicles—operational metrics for platform lifts and safety requirements for vehicles so equipped;

49 CFR Part 614- Transportation Infrastructure Management– contains the FTA regulations that pertain to transportation infrastructure management.  These regulations require compliance with 23 CFR Part 500, subparts A and B, which implement 23 U.S.C. 303 for state development, establishment, and implementation of systems for managing traffic congestion (CMS), public transportation facilities and equipment (PTMS), intermodal transportation facilities and systems (IMS), and traffic monitoring for highways and public transportation facilities and equipment.

49 CFR Part 655- Prevention of Alcohol Misuse and Prohibited Drug Use in Transit Operations– contains the drug and alcohol testing regulations that are specific to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). These regulations establish programs, to be implemented by employers that receive financial assistance from FTA (and by contractors of those employers), that are designed to help prevent accidents, injuries, and fatalities resulting from the misuse of alcohol and use of prohibited drugs by employees who perform safety-sensitive functions.  Subpart B requires employers to establish an anti-drug use and alcohol misuse program, establish an employee education and training program for all covered employees, provide written notice to every covered employee and to representatives of employee organizations of the employer’s anti-drug and alcohol misuse policies and procedures, and notify a covered employee that a drug or alcohol test is required by this part before performing a test.  Subpart C prohibits consumption of marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine at all times, and requires an employer to establish a program that provides pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, random, and return to duty/follow-up testing for these prohibited drugs and their metabolites.  Subpart D prohibits pre-duty, on-duty, and post-accident use of alcohol by covered employees who perform safety-sensitive functions, and requires an employer to establish a program that provides post-accident, reasonable suspicion, random, and return to duty/follow-up testing for alcohol.  An employer may also conduct pre-employment alcohol testing.  Subparts E, F, and G outline requirements with regard to the various types of drug and alcohol testing, (e.g., pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, and random testing), testing procedure requirements, and the consequences of a positive drug/alcohol test or the refusal to submit to testing.  Subpart H requires an employer to maintain records of its anti-drug and alcohol misuse program and report program results in a management information system (MIS).  Under Subpart I, a recipient must annually certify compliance with Part 655 as a condition of FTA financial assistance.  This part must be read in conjunction with 49 CFR Part 40, which contains the USDOT regulations that pertain to the procedures for drug and alcohol testing in the transportation workplace. These regulations cover all USDOT modes and specifically define how testing specimens are collected and analyzed, as well as the process for reporting results.

49 CFR Part 663- Pre-Award and Post-Delivery Audits of Rolling Stock Purchases– requires FTA, by delegation from the Secretary of Transportation, to issue regulations requiring pre-award and post-delivery audits when a recipient of Federal financial assistance purchases revenue service rolling stock with funds obligated by FTA.  A recipient must ensure that (1) a pre-award audit is complete before the recipient enters into a formal contract for the purchase of rolling stock, and (2) a post-delivery audit is complete before title to the rolling stock is transferred to the recipient.  An audit under this part is limited to verifying compliance with (1) the solicitation specifications of the recipient and (2) applicable Buy America requirements, and includes, where appropriate, a copy of a manufacturer’s self certification information that the vehicle complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or a certification that such standards are inapplicable.

49 CFR Part 665- Bus Testing– requires an applicant for Federal financial assistance for the purchase or lease of buses with funds obligated by the FTA to certify to the FTA that any new bus model or any bus model with a major change in configuration or components acquired with such assistance has been tested in accordance with this part.  Testing requirements under Subpart B stipulate that a new bus model to be tested at the bus testing facility must (1) be a single model, (2) meet all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and (3) be substantially fabricated and assembled using the techniques, tooling, and materials that will be used in production of subsequent buses of that model.  If the new bus model has not previously been tested at the bus testing facility, then the new bus model shall undergo the full testing requirements for maintainability, reliability, safety, performance, structural integrity, fuel economy, noise, and emissions (these eight tests are described in general terms in Appendix A of Part 665).  If the new bus model (1) has not previously been tested at the bus testing facility and is being produced on a third-party chassis that has been previously tested on another bus model at the bus testing facility, or (2) has previously been tested at the bus testing facility, but is subsequently manufactured with a major change in chassis or components, then the new bus model may undergo partial testing.  The recipient shall receive the appropriate full bus testing report and any applicable partial testing report(s) before final acceptance of the first vehicle by the recipient.  These regulations also outline the rules that must be followed with regard to scheduling, fees, transportation of the vehicle, and procedures during testing.

49 CFR Part 574