MCJ Insurance Agency Blog
MA DOT Adopts Federal Regulations:This effects MA Commercial Vehicles & Business Owners
We have found a fairly new regulation promulgated by the Massachusetts DOT (Department of Transportation) regarding commercial vehicles. In essence, the Commonwealth has adopted the majority of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations as its own. Here is a description of what the MA DOT considers to be a “commercial vehicle:”
The regulation goes on to say that it is the intent of the regulation that “commercial motor vehicle” under the state regulation shall have the same meaning as the federal regulation.The specific portions of the federal regulations adopted by the MA DOT are:
As a result, businesses operating only in Massachusetts that never before had to comply with the federal regulations will now need to comply with virtually all of the federal regulations except the requirement for DOT numbers.As an example, a contractor with a Ford F-350 (one-ton) pickup truck with a GVWR of 12,500 pounds and an E-350 cargo van with a GVWR of 11,000 pounds operating ONLY in Massachusetts will now be subject to many of the federal regulations including:
For intrastate motor vehicles over 26,000 pounds GVWR, there would be added requirements including the need for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), pre-employment, post-accident and scientifically-based random substance and alcohol testing.We put together a chart of what provisions apply to interstate commercial motor vehicles which many of our members have shared with their commercial clients. The provisions on the chart, with the exception of the DOT Registration requirements, would also apply to intrastate vehicles and may be helpful to intrastate clients (chart is last page of this document).Although it is NOT an insurance agents responsibility to notify our clients about what specific regulations apply to our clients, but since fines for non-compliance are HUGE, and that we’ve heard that a number of MA-only businesses have been stopped and ticketed for non-compliance (some to the tune of $1,000 for no medical cards). The best advice we can provide to our clients is to seek the advice from an expert on these compliance issues, either through a trade group they belong to or a consultant on these issues. There are two consultants in Massachusetts:
We highly recommend that if you own a business or have commercial plates that you should contact one of the above compliance specialists to find out if you or your business is affected by these changes. Please do not contact the agency as we will refer you to the above consultants because these changes and issues are outside our area of expertise.
Commercial Motor Vehicles
Definition: Commercial motor vehiclemeans any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle --
(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
(2) Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
(4) Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.
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