J. J. Keller DOT authority experts will make the process of getting a USDOT number easy for you.
We work with private carriers, for-hire carriers, brokers, intermodal, interstate and intrastate carriers. Contact us at
Whether you're an over-the-road trucker or use vehicles as part of other work for your business, you need the right authority and creditials to comply with the DOT rules and regulations. This free, 14-page guide gives you an easy-to-understand summary of the requirements you must comply with.
What is a US DOT Number?
It is a unique identifier used by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to monitor safety practices and controls of companies or independent owner operators. A new applicant must file Form MCSA-1 electronically before beginning operations using the Unified Registration System (URS). FMCSA does not accept paper registration forms/applications from new applicants.
Who needs a US DOT Number?
Companies that operate commercial motor vehicles as defined in §390.5 (CMVs) that transport cargo or passengers across state lines (interstate commerce) must have a unique number issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This DOT registration number and the carrier’s legal company name must be displayed on both sides of the vehicle.
Apart from the federal regulations, 36 states require their intrastate commercial motor vehicle registrants to obtain a US DOT Number.
Transporters of hazardous materials within their state, in quantities requiring a safety permit, also need one.
Do you engage in for-hire transportation of passengers or commodities, meaning that you are paid to transport people or goods from Point A to B? If so, you will also need an MC number, giving you federal for-hire operating trucking authority to engage in this type of business.
What is a Commercial Motor Vehicle?
The definition in 390.5 refers to a vehicle used on a highway, in interstate commerce, that meets any one of the following criteria:
- has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR), or gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross combination weight (GCW) of 10,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater;
- is designed to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation;
- is designed to transport 16 or more people including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
- is transporting hazardous materials in quantities requiring the vehicle to be placarded.
What happens after I get a US DOT Number?
All first-time carrier applicants get enrolled in the FMCSA's New Entrant Safety Assurance Program. Under this program, you must pass a safety audit conducted within your first year of operation. In addition, your operation will be closely monitored for compliance at roadside inspections during your 18-month probationary period, after which you'll be given permanent registration status. J. J. Keller can help you prepare for (or respond to) your new entrant audit.
Depending on the types of vehicles you're operating interstate, you may need to comply with IFTA & IRP, HVUT, and state-specific taxes such as KYU, NYHUT, NM weight-mile tax, and Oregon weight-distance tax. Get permits now!
Also, you will need to renew UCR annually.
Get essential guidance to help new entrants successfully pass roadside inspection, safety audits, and compliance reviews with the Start Your Engines: A Roadmap for New Entrants manual.
States that require intrastate carriers to apply for a DOT Registration Number:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia