Frequently Asked Trucking Accident Questions
What Federal agency regulates the trucking industry?
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Office of Motor Carriers, which is part of the Department of Transportation, regulates the trucking industry. The FHWA is responsible for the issuance, administration, and enforcement of the applicable rules and regulations (Federal Motor Carrier Regulations).
What is the applicable law that relates to the commercial trucking industry?
The FHWA is the government agency responsible for the issuance, administration, and enforcement of Federal Motor Carrier Regulations (FMCSR). The FMCSRs are found at 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 325, 350, and 382-399. The Hazardous Materials Regulations for motor carriers are found at 49 CFR Parts 100-180. In addition, 49 CFR Part 40 regulates drug and alcohol testing requirements for motor carriers.
All carriers engaged in interstate commerce within the United States, even if from Mexico or Canada, must comply with these federal regulations. The laws of Mexico and Canada, which are less stringent than in the United States, do not apply to Mexican and Canadian trucks driving in the United States, although some interesting North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) issues are raised when trying to make the truck sizes and weights compatible between the countries.
How many accidents occur per year involving trucks? How many are fatal?
The truck fleet consists of 4.3 million single unit straight trucks and 1.6 million combinations. Of the 52,227 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 1992, 3,957 (7.6 percent) were trucks with three of four being a combination. Of the 4,462 persons killed in crashes involving trucks, 85 percent were occupants of cars and light trucks. 
What is the minimum level of liability insurance that a motor carrier in interstate commerce must carry?
A motor carrier must carry a minimum $750,000 insurance policy. This does not include the trailer, if attached separately, which must then be insured separately. If the trailer and truck are a unit, the minimum level of insurance that must be carries is $750,000.
For the Answers to More In-depth Issues, choose here.
1. Comprehensive Truck Size And Weight Study: Summary Report for Phase I–Synthesis of Truck Size and Weight (TS&W) Studies and Issues, Section 4.3 Safety, page 31; Federal Highway Administration; http://www.bts.gov/ntl/DOCS/cts.html, (March 1995).