Regulatory Insights


"The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration are the regulatory bodies governing all the regulations to which a motor carrier must adhere."

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration are the regulatory bodies governing all the regulations to which a motor carrier must adhere. These regs address Driver Qualification File requirements, Vehicle Maintenance and record keeping, Managed Drug and Alcohol Programs, Hours of Service rules and Hazmat requirements.

General Qualification of Driver

General qualifications of a commercial driver for interstate operations:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Is physically qualified
  • Can read, write, and speak English on a conversational level
  • Has a valid commercial motor vehicle licensed issued by their state or jurisdiction
  • Has prepared and provided the motor carrier with a list of violations or certificates as required
  • Successfully completed a road test (a valid CDL completes this requirement)

Driver Qualification File

All companies who operate commercial vehicles are required to have a driver qualification file 
for each commercial driver. The DQ file must include:

  • Driver’s application
  • Pre-employment questionnaire (if not included in the application) 
  • The initial MVR
  • Certificate of road test (not required if the driver had to take a road test to obtain their CDL)
  • The MVR used for the annual review
  • Certificate of violations
  • Annual review
  • If you have a driver with a medical exemption, then the skill performance evaluation certificate or the medical exemption document should be included
  • Medical card
Annual Driver Qualification Requirements

Vehicle Regulations

Every motor carrier and intermodal provider is required to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all equipment subject to its control. All motor carriers must retain records or maintain cause to be maintained records for any equipment under its control.

  • Maintenance records
  • Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports
  • Periodic Inspections
  • Written systematic maintenance policy
  • Inspector qualification (brakes and periodic inspection)

Drug and Alcohol Program

All motor carriers who use drivers who hold commercial drivers license must have a controlled substance (drug and alcohol) program. The program must include the following types of testing:

  • Pre-Employment
  • Random
  • Post-Accident
  • Reasonable Suspicion
  • Company Policy Testing

In addition, all companies must provide a drug and alcohol policy to their commercial driver’s license holders and get a signed receipt of acceptance of that policy.

Hours of Service

In the new landscape of hours of service compliance, the requirement has changed for motor carriers on how they maintain a commercial driver hour. Effective December of 2017, all motor carriers (with exceptions) are required to have an Electronic Logging Device in their trucks. You can view a list of registered vendors at

General Interstate hours of service rules for property carrying company are are as follows:

  • Drivers may not drive more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period.
  • Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break during their first 8 hours.
  • Drivers are required to take 10 hours off duty before an 11-hour driving period. (NOTE: There is a split sleeper berth exception to this rule.)
  • Drivers may not drive after the 14th hour.
  • Drivers may not drive more than 60 hours in 7 days if company does not operate 7 days a week 24 hours a day.
  • Drivers may not drive more than 70 hours in 8 days if the company operates 7 days a week 24 hours per day. 
  • A 34-hour reset can be used to completely reset a driver’s hours, though it is not required.

Hazardous Materials

The hazardous materials regs are applicable to the transportation of hazardous materials in commerce and their offering to:

  • Take the hazardous material interstate or intrastate, and foreign carriers by rail car, aircraft, motor vehicle and vessel. 
  • The representation that a hazardous material is present in a package, container, rail car, aircraft, motor vehicle or vessel.  
  • The manufacture, fabrication, marking, maintenance, reconditioning, repairing or testing of a package or container which is represented, marked, certified or sold for use in the transportation of hazardous materials.

Motor carriers that haul hazmat are required to:

  • Register as a hazmat carrier
  • Obtain a hazmat permit if applicable
  • Understand the regulations on 
  • Markings
  • Placarding
  • Shipping papers
  • Loading and unloading
  • Compatibility
  • Bracing and blocking
  • Incident reporting
  • Security plan 
  • Employee training

Find guidance to the hazardous material regs at

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