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Truck Driving Laws

How federal trucking laws apply to Michigan

Truck driving laws are federal, meaning that truck rules are set by the federal government. These laws also apply in Michigan. Below is a summary of the agencies and regulations for the trucking industry.

The Federal Highway Administration

The Federal Highway Administration was formed in the early 1980s in an effort to curb the unacceptable number of truck accidents throughout the nation. The movement for increased safety of commercial large trucks led the federal government to focus on issues such as truck driver licensing, fatigue, hours of service, unsafe loading and minimum operating requirements, as each of those factors was shown to contribute to preventable truck accidents.

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed by Congress in 1986, creating laws to deal with problems caused by irresponsible and unqualified truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them. For example, laws were enacted to prevent drivers from having more than one license. By 1992, truckers were required to meet minimum national standards in order to operate a commercial truck. Once a driver met these standards, he or she was then issued a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

The FMCSA was established as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. Michigan has adopted the FMCSA rules and regulations for its trucking industry. The rules and regulations set driver requirements for aspects of the job including physical standards, alcohol and drug testing, hours of service, cargo, weight, licensing, inspection, repair and maintenance.

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