Certain cars are required to be equipped with the USDOT Number, which acts as an unique identifier for the vehicle. The numbers are used to track and gather safety data for the purposes of compliance audits inspections, as well as crashes investigations. If your business is involved in interstate commerce, or other kinds of intrastate commerce (such as the transportation of hazardous substances) getting an USDOT Number could be necessary to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.
In this article we’ll go over everything you should be aware of USDOT numbers for commercial vehicles such as requirements, usages for obtaining an USDOT Number, and much more.
When is a USDOT Number Required?
Anyone operating commercial vehicles to transport passengers or transport cargo on interstate commerce must be issued a USDOT Number in order to be registered at the FMCSA. Alongside these businesses and vehicles, commercial intrastate vehicles transporting dangerous materials — of any quantity or type which require safety permit and must be registered for the USDOT Number.
Particularly the USDOT Number is required. USDOT number is mandatory for all vehicles that are used to conduct intrastate commerce that:
- Are used to transport dangerous substances of any kind or in any quantity that require an authorization for safety to conduct intrastate trade
Vehicles employed for interstate trade must have USDOT Numbers that meet different specifications. In particular, USDOT Numbers are required for vehicles that are used for interstate commerce, which includes:
- Have a gross weight rating for your vehicle or a gross combinatory weight rate (if more that the vehicle’s gross weight, or the gross combined weight) of 10001 pounds or more
- A gross combined weight, or an gross weight (if more than gross vehicle rating, or the gross combined weight ratings) of 10001 pounds or more
- are designed or utilized for transporting eight or more passengers including the driver to compensate the driver.
- are designed or intended for transporting 15 or more passengers including the driver however, they are not designed to transport compensation-paying passengers.
Inter-state commerce refers to any type of trade, traffic or transport in the United States occurring:
- A place that is within the state and one beyond the state’s boundaries
- Two locations in the same state, however where transportation has to take place via a different state or other location that is not within the United States
- Two locations within a single state. This is part of any trade or transport which originates or is completed at a place outside of the state or the United States
The obligation of understanding and adhering to regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations lies with motor carrier owners and their drivers. This means that it’s the responsibility of the operators of passenger and commercial vehicles as well as their chauffeurs to be aware what regulations are in place and to take the necessary steps to ensure the compliance.
Additionally 35 states, including Puerto Rico, require intrastate commercial vehicle owners to get the USDOT Number. The 15 states that follow don’t:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
Conforming to all of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) are in place to increase the safety of highway passengers, as well as other motorists who share highways with vehicles that transport hazardous substances and engaged in interstate transportation. The rules include limitations on the amount of hours that drivers are allowed to clock in order to avoid accidents caused by fatigue.
Property-carrying drivers can be allowed to drive for up to 11 hours after at least 10 hours of off duty, as an example however; passenger-carrying drivers are restricted up to 10 hours driving after an minimum of eight hours of off duty. In addition, both passenger-carrying and property-carrying drivers are not permitted to drive after 60/70 hours of duty for a period between seven and eight days.
Although compliance with a variety of FMCSRs is the duty of the operator however, the regulations regarding hours of service and other regulations, fall on the shoulders drivers themselves. Drivers have been required for a while to keep electronic logs that document every hour in service, break times as well as other data to confirm that the requirements are fulfilled.
How do I Register with FMCSA
There are a variety of steps when registration with FMCSA. First, you must determine whether FMCSA registration is mandatory (any driver or operator who meets the above requirements for applicability must register). This interactive survey will allow you to know the need to obtain an USDOT number.
You must decide if you require to obtain an international Operating Authority number (known as an MC number). Companies that need to get an MC number along with an DOT number, include those that:
- Interstate commerce involves transport passengers direct or indirect with a charge or other payment
- Transport federally controlled products owned by third parties or arrange for the transportation of federally controlled commodities within interstate commerce, in exchange for the payment of a fee or any other payment
Operating authority granted under FMCSA is usually recognized by the authority granted, which could include MC or FF numbers. In certain instances, businesses might require several operating authorities, based on the type of authority needed to facilitate the company’s business plans. Numbers issued by the USDOT, on contrary, are one application process for all of the operations.
Operating Authority Operating Authority determines both the kind of business a company is allowed to run and the kinds of cargo a company is allowed to transport and the requirements for insurance coverage set out by FMCSA. The different kinds of authorities comprise:
- Motor Carrier of Property (except Household Goods) this authority is applicable to for-hire motor carriers that transport controlled commodities and, with the exception of household items, for the the general public as compensation. The motor carriers have to file evidence of insurance for public liability (including bodily injury as well as property damages) in the FMCSA for the purpose of obtaining operating authority, though the insurance for cargo isn’t required to obtain this type of authority.
- Motor Carrier of Household Goods (Moving Companies) This authority is applicable to motor carriers that carry household items for the general public to be compensated like shifting companies. Particularly, household goods comprise of household items utilized in the home and include items that are shipped from factories or stores and then transported by the homeowner, who contributes to the cost of transportation. Motor carriers are required to submit evidence of their insurance coverage of public liability (including injuries to the body and property damage) in addition to evidence of insurance for cargo with the FMCSA to obtain the authority to operate across states.
- Broker of property (except Household Goods) This operating authority is applicable to partnerships, individuals, or companies that are compensated for arranging the transportation of property except for household items that are owned by others through an authorized motor transport. Brokers are not in ownership of the property and thus do not accept the responsibility for the property.
- Brokers of household Goods (This operating authorization is applicable to partnerships, individuals or companies that are compensated to arrange for the transport of household goods (items that are intended to be used in homes) that belong to other persons by using an authorized motor carrier. As with Brokers of Property and Brokers of Household Goods do not assume any responsibility for the household goods that are transported, because they do not have direct control over those items. Businesses are required to be registered as a broker of household goods when the motor company providing transportation services also offers certain (or the entire range) among the services listed below such as binding and non-binding estimations, inventories, packaging and unpacking of specific objects at residences of individuals and loading and unloading at private homes.
- US-based Enterprise Carrier of International Cargo (except Household Goods) This operating authority is applicable to all companies that handle international cargo and, with the exception of household items, which are located within the United States but are owned or controlled by an Mexican resident or citizen of Mexico (55 percent or more the control of or ownership). In this instance, the international cargo has to be intended to or originate from an overseas country.
- US-based Enterprise Carrier of International Household Goods This authority is available to any company that carries household goods that are international in nature and located within the United States but owned or controlled by an Mexican native or resident of an alien (55 percent or more controlling or owning). This authority is specifically applicable to businesses that transport household goods , which are items intended to be used for personal use within a home, such as items bought from a shop or factory to serve this purpose, and then shipped on the behalf of the householder who is also responsible for costs of transportation. Because this authority pertains to household items that are imported and household goods, the items being transported must originate from or are destined to be used in the country of origin.
Since USDOT Numbers are an essential identification device used to keep documents on commercial vehicles. There are rules that govern the dimensions and style of of the number on the vehicle. For commercial vehicles, USDOT Numbers must be readily visible during the day at the minimum range of fifty feet with a minimum of 2 inches. These numbers are usually placed on the door of the vehicle in order to satisfy the requirements that the number must be the power unit is displayed on the display on both on both sides of CMV.
USDOT numbers should also be placed in a prominent contrast with the remainder of the vehicle in order to provide visibility. In addition, CMVs must be marked with the legal name of the company entity that is responsible for the motor carrier’s operations (or “doing business as” or “doing business as” or DBA name) as well as the business’s Name as shown on the form MCS150.