Bus Ops not Registered with DOT May Face Federal Penalties

Posted on October 10, 2007 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Using your truck or bus for business may make you subject to federal regulations in addition to state regulations said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

In response, The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) FMCSA has created the Safety is Good Business initiative to help truck and bus companies identify whether or not operators need to register for a USDOT number and to help them understand and reap the benefits of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The FMCSA’s mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

Safety is Good Business because crashes are devastating in terms of fatalities and injuries, financial costs, damaged reputations, the inability to attract and retain good drivers, and general goodwill in the industry and community. Good safety practices can save lives and reduce costs.

Large truck crashes that involve fatalities cost, on average, $3.6 million per crash; those that cause injuries cost almost $200,000 per crash.

You need to register for a USDOT number if:

•You are a carrier that operates a motor vehicle in interstate commerce (across state lines):

•That has a combined gross vehicle weight or weight rating of 10,001 lbs. or more


•That is designed or used to transport 9-15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation


•That is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) whether for compensation or not


•That transports hazardous materials in quantities that require placarding under the hazardous materials regulations

You ALSO need to register for OPERATING AUTHORITY if:

•You transport passengers or property owned by others for compensation in interstate commerce


•You arrange for the transportation of property owned by others for compensation in interstate commerce (e.g., as a broker or freight forwarder)

You need to register before you begin using your vehicle for business. If you meet any of the criteria listed above and have not yet registered, the FMCSA website has detailed information at www.fmcsa.dot.gov, or you can call 1-800-832-5660.

The FMCSA Safety is Good Business website offers explanations of the regulations in layman’s language and is an excellent source of information on an array of topics such as drug and alcohol programs, driver wellness programs, and safety management techniques.

Failure to register, if you meet the criteria noted above, is a violation of federal law. Penalties for failing to register can include written warnings, fines, and other penalties.

After you register you will be considered a New Entrant motor carrier and will be subject to an 18-month monitoring period for safe operations. During this time, a safety audit of your operations will be performed to assess your safety performance and basic safety management controls.

SOURCE: Consolidated Safety Services

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