Risk Insights: Does My Commercial Motor Vehicle Need a USDOT Number?

By April 15, 2021Truck Blog


As owner or manager of a company that operates a number of commercial vehicles that engage regularly in interstate or intrastate commerce, it is important for you to be aware of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Number system.

What is a USDOT Number?

A USDOT Number works as a unique identifier for certain types of vehicles. It is issued to companies that are engaged in interstate and in some cases, intrastate commerce, that is – if you are transporting hazardous merchandise.  USDOT Numbers are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and they are intended to facilitate monitoring, and collection of safety information which are essential elements of seamless safety audits, inspections, and crash investigations.

As a truck dealer in Oklahoma City that businesses trust, we feel obliged to inform you about important rules and guidelines of the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.


USDOT Number Guidelines

To ensure a legal and hassle-free operation of your commercial truck and trailer fleet, the first thing you need to do is find out whether or not you are required to register with the FMCSA to request for a USDOT Number. As operator of a commercial motor fleet or vehicle, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are issued a USDOT Number for your company.  It is also your obligation to provide your employees with your company’s exact registration information before dispatching them to their assigned tasks.


There are a number of ways to determine if your company needs a USDOT Number, but you can go directly to the FMCSA website to discover the answer first hand.  Their interactive USDOT registration page will ask a number of questions about your business and vehicles. After answering the questions, the website will give a definite answer whether you need to register for a USDOT Number or not.


The following conditions will be your basis to  determine if a USDOT Number is required for your commercial motor vehicles:  

Generally, you are required to obtain a USDOT Number if your company is engaged in interstate commerce and meets the following criteria:

  • You have commercial vehicles that are 10,001 lbs. GVWR, GCWR, GVW or GCW or more.
  • You operate a commercial vehicle designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver). Additionally, that same vehicle is not used or intended to transport passengers for a fee.
  • You operate a vehicle for the purpose of transporting more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation. 
  • Your vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials 
  • Your state of domicile requires you to obtain a USDOT Number. The states listed below also require intrastate carriers to obtain a USDOT Number. 
    • Alabama
    • Alaska
    • Arizona
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Idaho
    • Indiana
    • Iowa
    • Kansas
    • Kentucky
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • Missouri
    • Montana
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Nebraska
    • Nevada
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Oklahoma
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Puerto Rico
    • South Carolina
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Washington
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin
    • Wyoming


Note: If the state you intend to operate in is not in the above list, check with that state’s intrastate commerce regulations before dispatching your vehicles there. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to compliance to regulations.  

As owner or manager of a fleet of commercial truck and trailer and motor vehicles, you must be sure to comply with the USDOT Number regulations. Compliance to all federal and state regulations is an important aspect of operating a fleet safely and without feeling anxious about getting apprehended due to non-compliance.

Call us at (405) 912-5800 for your trucking and related needs. We are the truck dealer in Oklahoma City that commercial truck and trailer operators prefer.