Make a Difference at FMCSA

Wrecked semi on the shoulder of a road.

Are you interested in the trucking industry? At the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you could work with trucking companies and industry professionals in a career that saves lives.

FMCSA is a federal government agency that oversees freight and bus transportation in the United States. Its overall mission? To reduce fatalities involving large trucks and buses nationwide.

Jack Van Steenburg, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Click a button to watch an interview with Jack Van Steenburg:

One of the things FMCSA does is create and enforce the regulations that trucking and bus companies must obey to stay in business. These regulations are based on research that shows how to keep truck and bus drivers and the public safe on the roads. FMCSA works closely with highway law enforcement to ensure that drivers and trucking companies are operating safely.

Why do freight carriers need special rules and regulations? There are many reasons, but they usually involve the size and weight of large trucks.

FMCSA defines large trucks as any vehicle weighing over 10,000 lbs. With that much weight travelling at high speeds, it requires much more distance to slow down and stop. Truck drivers must drive with caution and at safe speeds, because trucks don’t have the quick maneuverability that cars do. It’s especially important that truck drivers obey the laws against distracted driving and driving while impaired. FMCSA makes sure that truck drivers and freight companies are paying close attention to safety at all times.

But FMCSA does more than just create and enforce rules. They also conduct research. Their goal is to discover the causes of accidents involving large trucks or buses. Then, they find ways to prevent these accidents. This is extremely important, because large truck accidents tend to be severe. FMCSA’s research shows that in fatal accidents involving large trucks, over 70% of the time it is someone in the other vehicle who is killed. But thanks to researchers at FMCSA new safety improvements continue to develop. These improvements have brought fatal truck accidents down by almost 20% since 2013.

Yet there’s still work to be done to get the number of large truck crashes close to zero. That's why FMCSA will continue to need new employees to support their mission.

Jack Van Steenburg is FMCSA’s chief safety officer and assistant administrator. He told Fast Forward that there are career opportunities at FMCSA waiting interested students.

“At the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, we’re always looking for investigators out in the field that actually do the day-to-day enforcement against carriers that violate our regulations,” he said. He continued by saying that this is just one of the many positions available with the agency. Other positions range from administrative duties to crash prevention science and research. “We run a large agency—1,100 people—so we’re also looking for staff to work in the human resources area, the regulatory area, and the research area,” he said.

Working for FMCSA might be an appealing career for people who already know they want to work in the trucking industry. For example, you could work closely with truckers and trucking companies to help them understand and meet federal safety requirements. You could also provide drivers the training they need to feel safe behind the wheel.

To learn more about safety careers in the trucking or bus industry, check out the FMCSA website. And be sure to keep following Fast Forward for more information on awesome transportation industry careers!

Aaron Mack
Fast Forward: Volume 3 Issue 3 – Trucking & Logistics