welcome to missouri road signSemi-trucks are a common sight on Missouri’s highways and roads. However, these trucks do not all follow the same rules. While interstate trucking companies do business in different states, intrastate vehicles never leave the state of Missouri. The difference may not seem big, but the consequences after an accident can be significant.

The Critical Differences Between Inter- and Intrastate Trucking

Interstate and intrastate trucking companies both have the authority to operate commercial vehicles. However, they are subject to very different regulations:

  • Interstate trucking companies, which send vehicles across state lines, are subject to the authority of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  • Intrastate trucking companies, which do not send their vehicles outside of Missouri, are governed by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Interstate trucking companies are obliged to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules, even when their vehicles are transiting between different states. However, intrastate carriers in Missouri are exempted from many of the FMCSA’s regulations. 

Missouri Department of Transportation Regulations

Intrastate trucking companies must apply for and receive both U.S. Department of Transportation and Missouri Department of Transportation carrier numbers. For the most part, the Missouri Department of Transportation’s intrastate trucking rules are based on the Federal Regulations, with some notable exceptions:

  • Driver qualifications. Missouri residents and workers can obtain a commercial intrastate driving license (CDL) when they are aged 18. In contrast, interstate CDL holders must be at least 21.
  • Physical requirements. Missouri does not have the same stringent physical testing standards at the FMCSA. However, drivers must still subject themselves to semi-regular drug and alcohol testing.
  • Hours of service. Missouri has the same hours of service limits as the federal government, meaning that intrastate drivers cannot drive for more than 11 hours per day; they have mandatory break, rest, and meal periods and cannot spend more than 60/70 hours over the road per week, depending on whether they take weekends off or not. However, Missouri does exempt agricultural transportation businesses from its hours of service requirements, provided operations are confined to a 100-mile radius.
  • Vehicle markers. Missouri requires that common intrastate carriers display Missouri DOT numbers but does not extend the same requirement to “private” intrastate carriers, meaning those that do not offer their services to the general public.

Why Interstate Versus Intrastate Matters

If you were hurt by a semi-truck driver in Missouri, you might be eligible to receive compensation through an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit. However, in order to recover your damages, you must show that the semi-truck driver, or their employer, was responsible for your injuries.

Since Missouri and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hold drivers and trucking companies to different regulatory standards, any complaint against a carrier should be grounded in relevant law: for interstate carriers, that means citing federal law. For intrastate carriers, it means citing state law.

An experienced Missouri truck accident attorney can help you determine the best strategy to get compensation from a reckless, drowsy, or distracted truck driver, as well as their employer.

Megan D. Andrews
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