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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)

On August 19, 2003, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published regulations that may have substantial impact on community transportation providers in Ohio who may transport passengers across state lines.  The rule will impact public transit systems as well as private nonprofit corporations who transport passengers to out-of-state destinations.

The new regulation culminates a process to implement Section 212 of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (MCSIA), (Pub. L. 106–159, 113 Stat. 1748, December 9, 1999).  This law, among other things, required FMCSA to make its safety regulations applicable to those commercial vans operating in interstate commerce.  In January 2001, FMCSA issued a final rule redefining a commercial motor vehicle to include small vehicles designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) in interstate commerce.  That same day, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was issued to determine the extent of regulatory oversight that should be implemented over these "small CMVs" (commercial motor vehicles).

With the August 2003 rule, FMCSA will require that motor carriers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) in interstate commerce, comply with the applicable safety regulations when they are directly compensated for such services and the vehicle is operated beyond a 75 air mile radius (86.3 statute miles or 138.9 kilometers) from the driver's normal work-reporting location.

Directly compensated means payment made to the motor carrier by the passengers or a person acting on behalf of the passengers for the transportation services provided, and not included in a total package charge or other assessment for highway transportation services.  Generally, service provided under contract will meet the definition of direct compensation, thereby triggering coverage under this new rule.

The applicable safety regulations are noted below.

49 CFR Regulatory Topic
325 Interstate Motor Carrier Noise Emission Standards
382 Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing
383 Commercial Drivers License
385 Safety Fitness Procedures
387 Financial Responsibility
390 General Applicability and Definitions
391 Qualifications of Drivers
392 Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles
393 Parts and Accessories
395 Driver's Hours of Service
396 Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance


Essentially, this rule makes community transportation providers that are private organizations (e.g., private nonprofit corporations) subject to the same safety requirements as motor coach operators (e.g., Greyhound), except for the commercial driver's license and controlled substances/alcohol testing regulations.

ODOT refers covered agencies to its guide, "ODOT Guide to Compliance with Interstate Passenger Transportation Regulations," for more detailed information on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). ODOT will be updating this manual in the near future to reflect the new rule.

The rule became effective on September 11, 2003.




Dave Seech
Transit Manager
(614) 644-7362