Myth: Carriers Must Provide Drivers Federal Motor Safety Regulations

By Dave Osiecki & Sean Garney of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting LLC & Regulatory Consultants to DriverReach – April, 2021 

This is the third installment of DriverReach’s new blog series aimed at accurately communicating driver and fleet-related requirements, typically governed by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) safety rules. The idea is to dispel some common industry myths or misconceptions.

The Compliance Myth: When hired, motor carriers are required to provide a copy of the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to the truck driver. The driver must keep it in their vehicle and the motor carrier should test the driver on his or her knowledge of the rules. This is false.

The Facts: STC periodically audits motor carriers to ensure compliance. Sometimes when looking through driver qualification files, we encounter a small piece of paper labeled “Driver’s Receipt” which includes the driver’s signature, the date and the signature of a company supervisor. The document acknowledges receipt of a pocket guide to the FMCSRs. In fact, the receipt contains a note advising carriers to obtain the requested signature and file it in the driver qualification file. This is a brilliant marketing strategy by those who sell the regulations book. It is not a federal requirement

It is true that 49 CFR §390.3(e)(2) requires that “every driver and employee shall be instructed regarding, and shall comply with, all applicable regulations contained in this subchapter.” (emphasis added)  However, the rules only require that the driver be instructed in all applicable rules. There are many rules in the FMCSRs that a driver may never need to know about or comply with. What matters is that carriers and drivers know about rules that impact them and that they comply with them. The federal rules do not prescribe how the driver should be instructed on these rules and providing a copy of all FMCSRs is probably not the most effective way. To be sure, it doesn’t hurt to provide your drivers a copy of the rules, but it’s not required. 

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