The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has safety regulatory oversight of commercial van operations and for-hire operators of small passenger-carrying vehicles that engage in interstate commerce. Motor carriers are subject to regulatory oversight when their vehicles are used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers if the vehicle is designed or used to transport 9 to 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation. The specific safety regulations applicable to such operations depends upon the form of the compensation received by the operator for the transportation services provided (i.e., in the form of either direct compensation or not for direct compensation). Direct compensation means payment made to the motor carrier by the passengers or the individual 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.
Motor carriers operating 9 to 15 passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles for direct compensation, regardless of the distance traveled, are subject to the safety standards in part 385 and parts 390 through 396 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These carriers are required to file a motor carrier identification report (section 390.19) and mark their commercial motor vehicles with the USDOT identification number and the legal name or single trade name of the operator (section 390.21).
Among other requirements, these carriers are also subject to safety fitness procedures and new entrant safety assurance procedures (part 385); accident register recordkeeping (section 390.15); driver qualification and medical examination requirements (part 391); required to maintain and update driver qualification files (section 391.51); required to comply with maximum driving time standards (section 395.5); required to maintain records of duty status (section 395.8) or time records (for drivers covered by the short-haul exemption in section 395.1(e)(1)); and recordkeeping for inspection, repair, and maintenance (part 396). Motor carriers are subject to these same regulations when their vehicle has a gross vehicle weight or gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds and is used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers, even if the vehicle is designed and used to transport 8 or less passengers.
Not For Direct Compensation
Motor carriers operating 9 to 15 passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles not for direct compensation, regardless of the distance traveled, are required to:
- File a motor carrier identification report
- Mark their commercial motor vehicles with the USDOT identification number
- Maintain an accident register
- Comply with the prohibition against drivers texting while driving
- Comply with the driver's restriction of cellular phones
Please note: Beginning December 12, 2015, MCS-150 and OP-series forms can ONLY be used to apply for additional authorities, not for initial registration with FMCSA. First-time applicants will be required to use the Unified Registration System. For more information about URS, or to apply for the first time, click here.
Other Federal Requirements
This web page focuses upon the applicability of safety regulations. Commercial van operations and for-hire operators of small passenger-carrying vehicles that engage in interstate commerce may also be subject to Federal operating authority and financial responsibility requirements. For an overview of such requirements, refer to the brochure titled "Overview of Federal Requirements, Interstate 9 to 15 Passenger Vehicles".
Information about all of the safety standards, requirements, and recordkeeping
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations