Safety Report

Analysis of Intrastate Trucking Operations

NTSB Number SR-02/01
NTIS Number PB2002-917001

Executive Summary: Each trip made in a commercial motor vehicle can be classified as either intrastate or interstate commerce depending on the destination of the cargo being transported. Interstate commerce is subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMRs) as well as to State laws and regulations. Intrastate commerce is subject to the FMCSRs that have been adopted by the States or to State laws that are "compatible" with the FMCSRs; that is, State laws that are identical to or have the same effect as the FMCSRs. States adopt the FMCSRs as a condition of receiving financial assistance from the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A limited number of variances related to safety are permitted for drivers and vehicles operating in intrastate commerce; these include a lower driver age, relaxed medical qualifications, expanded hours of service, exemption of specific commodities from some safety regulations, and exemption of some vehicles from vehicle safety regulations.

Data from the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS), Trucks Involved in Fatal Accidents (TIFA), and U.S. roadside inspections were analyzed to describe the general characteristics of intrastate motor carriers, to identify intrastate carrier accident characteristics, and to compare these characteristics with accidents involving interstate carriers. This information was supplemented by a National Transportation Safety Board-administered survey distributed to intrastate motor carriers. The report focuses only on nonhazardous material carriers operating trucks.

The data indicate that intrastate carriers and interstate carriers share many similarities in terms of operating characteristics and characteristics of their accident-involved trucks and drivers. Most of the differences in the characteristics of accident-involved trucks of intrastate and interstate carriers appear to reflect differences in operational factors, such as size of fleet, operating hours, and types of cargo hauled.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not issue any new safety recommendations in conjunction with this safety report at this time; however, the Board will continue to monitor the safety of intrastate carriers and commerce in future accident investigations and by following research and projects being conducted by government agencies, academia, and industry.