As a new motor carrier, you have a lot on your plate and a list of must-do tasks before starting your business. One of your most important motor carrier tasks is obtaining a USDOT number. This number is essential because it monitors the company’s safety records and other important information for daily road operations to maintain road safety. Also, it’s the law to obtain a USDOT number, and your responsibility to check if your trucking business needs one. This may seem a bit overwhelming, but no worries there. We are here to help you learn everything you need to know about USDOT numbers and more.
What is a USDOT number?
A USDOT number is for companies that operate a fleet of vehicles or transport passengers. USDOT is used as a unique identifier for companies by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The USDOT number is used and monitored by the FMCSA to track compliance information collected as a result of an accident. If your company transports cargo, passengers, or hazardous materials, you will need a USDOT number. The FMCSA invented the USDOT number to evaluate trucking companies’ safety practices to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities.
In addition, customers who want to hire trucking companies can check to ensure that the company is registered with the U.S. Department of transportation, and they can also check the safety information on the FMCSA website.
Why is the USDOT Important?
To ensure that your fleet is operating legally, you must first determine whether or not you need a USDOT number. Motor carrier operators or drivers must have a USDOT if required and register with FMCSA before operating their truck business. Take a look below to see if your business qualifies.
According to the FMCSA, motor carriers are required to complete a USDOT registration from the following:
- Transportation of hazardous materials
- Driving a vehicle that weighs 10,001 pounds or more
- Commercial transportation of eight or more passengers (driver included)
- Operation of a non-commercial vehicle used to transport 15 or more passengers (driver included) and not used to transport passengers for compensation
- Commercial transportation from one location to another within the same state.
- Commercial transportation of goods from one state to another.
USDOT Application Requirements
If you are a first-time applicant with FMCSA, you’ll need to apply on the Unified Registration System (URS). Below, we provided a list of information necessary to complete your registration for your USDOT number.
- Business Information (Name Of The Company, Number Of Employees, Address, etc.)
- Personal Contact Information
- Valid Address
- Insurance Policy
- Operation Classification Information
- Also, Indicate Whether You Will Transport People Or Cargo
- Employer Identification Number
- Number Of Vehicles
- Driver Status
- Ownership Of Vehicles
USDOT Number Timeline
The USDOT application process is easy to do and straightforward. It’s processed right away, and the USDOT number is assigned instantly. If you mail your USDOT application, it will take four to six weeks to process. When you submit online, it may shorten the time. And if you have all your information and documentation, you’ll be able to complete your application all at once. It’s good to gather all your important details and ask for expert advice for a smooth application process.
USDOT Number Fees
Applying for a USDOT number is free, but a fee of $300 for each distinct operating authority registration if requested. You will need your credit card to verify your information and is used as your digital signature, but the FMCSA will not charge your credit card.
Alex Rue is on Your Side
Insurance is one of the most important aspects of obtaining a USDOT number and starting your motor carrier business. We are here to help you with your insurance needs every step of the way to ensure you have the best coverage and rates. Before you start your USDOT number application process, start with the Rue Crew. We will provide expert advice and guidance.