Do I Need a USDOT Number?

It’s not just long haul truckers that need to have a USDOT number and many business owners in the United States are required to register for this number with the department of transportation. Do you have a USDOT number? Is your company required to have one?

In this short article, we explain the basic rules and principles behind the number.

But what is a USDOT number exactly?

What is a USDOT Number?

USDOT is an acronym for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

If a company is transporting people or cargo from one state to another, that company will require a USDOT number and must register with the FMCSA. Companies that transport hazardous materials intrastate must also obtain a USDOT number and this number is essentially an identification number that can be used to monitor safety and compliance.

And that’s just part of the story…

When Else Might You Require a USDOT Number?

Federal law implies that a USDOT number is needed for any trade or transportation of people or goods within the United States in the following instances:

  • If a company is transporting people/cargo outside of a particular state.
  • If a company is transporting people/cargo between two places within a particular state.
  • If a company is transporting people/cargo from a state to anywhere outside of the country.

However, these stipulations only apply if the gross weight rating of the vehicle is in excess of 10,000lbs or the vehicle is designed to transport eight or more passengers including the driver for compensation. Needless to say, you should always ask for clarification from the Department of Transportation if you feel your circumstances do not require a USDOT number. 

While a USDOT number is a requirement under federal law, several states also require registrants of intrastate commercial motor vehicles to hold a valid USDOT number. Here’s a full list of the states which require these companies to produce a USDOT number on demand.

In case you are still uncertain, let’s take a look at whether you might need a USDOT number.

Who is Responsible for Obtaining and Displaying a USDOT Number?

Just so you know, federal law indicates the motor carrier and relevant drivers are responsible for complying with all the above regulations. These laws are enforced to ensure road and passenger safety but also to protect property and instill a clear set of principles to follow. 

As for how to comply with these laws, a USDOT number must be visible on both sides of the power unit in a vehicle. This number must be in a contrasting color and visible from a distance, and any non-compliance will mean both the driver and carrier are liable.

The truth is, the fact you are reading this post means that it’s likely that you will need a USDOT number and you might as well stay on the right side of caution. After all, there is no cost to register for this number, and we all know the importance of public and road safety.

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