Federal Tips

April 1, 2001
JUST about everything you wanted to know about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) the agency's programs and activities can be found

JUST about everything you wanted to know about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) — the agency's programs and activities — can be found at www.fmcsa.dot.gov. There are at least nine sections on the web site that answer many of the questions most often sought by transportation companies and can be accessed directly by Internet address or by searching the site.

Many of the sections have links to the same sources, but there are direct addresses for various subjects. Almost all of the sections contain answers to questions frequently received at the agency.


This is a good place to begin for general information and links to other pertinent pages. The section has a synopsis of FMCSA history and services, with special emphasis on safety. Links are here to information on brake safety, commercial driver's license programs, information on drug and alcohol abuse, and driver fatigue.

The pages have lists of the major field organizations with a link to them, as well as to division offices in each state.


For carriers that need a Department of Transportation (DOT) number, this is the place to go for the information. A do-it-yourself online filing and payment system to apply for motor carrier certificates of authority can be accessed at this spot. A new electronic technical assistance package is available. It is designed to assist new and existing motor carriers in their compliance efforts.

In addition, these pages have information about manuals that have been prepared as part of the ongoing effort within the FHWA to reduce the number of vehicle accidents and the number of hazardous materials incidents during transportation. Among other topics are motor carrier identification reports, request changes of name and/or address for existing certificates of authority, or request reinstatement of certificates of authority.

There is also a link to a new postcard publication from FMCSA listing the most frequently asked questions about services and where to find them on the web site.


More information can be found at this address for payments on registration applications, insurance payments, and fines. Other payments for various services also can be made through this site by clicking on links to the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA).

Customers can request products and services from DOT and use their credit cards to execute transactions. By using the Internet, customers will reduce processing time and eliminate burdensome errors, the information on the web site states. Visitors can test their browser for encryption capability so that credit card transactions will be protected.


Rulemakings affecting the motor carrier industry are available here for downloading. Comments made by various people are also posted at this site. Here you will find the Federal Motor Carrier safety regulation interpretations and compliance guidance.


With the help of Adobe Acrobat, safety violation forms can be accessed, downloaded, and printed so that they can be used in the reporting process.


The Office of Hazardous Materials Safety at RSPA has many subjects posted on its web site, including hazmat technology, exemptions and approvals, enforcement, initiatives and training, and planning and analysis. Reports and brochures are available online, or they can be ordered.

Among the files that can be downloaded are exemption information, OHM guidance documents, biennial reports, penalty reports, penalty actions reports, and incidents.

One section is devoted to information on spills. Carriers can learn what the incident reporting requirements are. There is guidance for preparing hazmat reports and a collection of incident data statistics.


The No-Zone campaign to educate people about how to share the road safely with large trucks and buses can be found at this web site. There are news articles about the trucking industry and ways to promote safety through public awareness.

About the Author

Mary Davis