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FMCSA Regulates Interstate Commercial Operation

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates interstate commercial operations, including the drivers, the trucks and buses the drivers operate, the motor carrier, and the transportation of hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards. A safety risk in any one or more of these commercial operations components can endanger the safety and health of the public.


Approximately 6 to 7 million commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are required by law to comply with FMCSA physical qualification standards. Thus, an estimated 3 to 4 million physical examinations must be performed annually, with the demand increasing every year.

In addition to medical fitness for duty certification, other regulations affecting the CMV driver include drug and alcohol testing, record keeping, hours of service, and more.


CMVs include trucks and buses subject to regulations governing inspection, repair, and maintenance.

Truck and Bus Companies

Motor carriers, both for-hire and private, must comply with FCMSA regulations governing their drivers and minimum levels of financial responsibility.

In the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), the term "motor carrier" refers to:

  • Agents for motor carriers.
  • Officers.
  • Representatives.
  • Employees responsible for the hiring, supervising, training, assigning, and dispatching of drivers.
  • Employees concerned with the installation, inspection, and maintenance of motor vehicle equipment and accessories.
  • Employer.
  • Exempt motor carrier.

Motor carriers are responsible for ensuring that the driver meets the general qualification requirements of 49 CFR 391.11. The driver must:

  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Speak and read English well enough to:
    • Converse with the general public.
    • Understand highway/traffic signals.
    • Respond to official questions.
    • Make legible entries on reports.
  • Be capable of safely operating the CMV.
  • Have a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate on file.
  • Have only one valid CMV operator’s license.
  • Have provided the motor carrier with required background and violations information.
  • Not be subject to disqualification to drive a CMV under the rules in 49 CFR 391.15.
  • Have successfully completed a driver’s road test or equivalent.

Commercial driver medical fitness for duty records must include all Federal physical qualification requirements found on the Medical Examination Report form. Truck and bus companies may also have additional medical requirements, such as a minimum lifting capability. The driver could fail a motor carrier pre-employment driver certification examination and still meet the Federal physical qualification requirements for certification and issuance of a Medical Examiner's Certificate.

State Regulations

States regulate intrastate commerce and commercial drivers who are not subject to Federal regulations.  They are required, at a minimum, to adopt Federal physical qualification requirements and may even have additional, different, or more stringent requirements. Medical examiners are responsible for knowing the driver regulations for the State or States in which they practice.

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590 • 1-800-832-5660 • TTY: 1-800-877-8339 • Field Office Contacts