The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has begun enforcing a rule mandating that commercial motor vehicles must display an active, valid U.S. Department of Transportation number.
The rule, which became effective July 5, affects all trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds, all vehicles transporting hazardous materials, all for-hire passenger carriers operating vehicles rated by the manufacturer as having an eight-passenger capacity, and all not-for-hire passenger carriers operating vehicles rated for more than 15 passengers.
All such vehicles must show the name of the carrier and the carrier’s USDOT number on both sides of the vehicle. Leased owner-operators must show the number of their leasing carrier. Some states require owner-operators to get their own number before their International Registration Plan license plates are renewed.
Some states have truck-marking regulations that match the federal regulations: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Intrastate hauling within these states requires a USDOT number.
Vehicles without one are subject to fines. For example, piloting a truck without the proper numbers in New York can result in a civil penalty of as much as $5,000.
For the 90 days after the USDOT number is issued, that number-holder is audited by government agents or private contractors. Audit topics include driver qualifications, hours of service, drug and alcohol testing, vehicle maintenance and recordkeeping.
To secure a USDOT number and learn how to pass a safety audit, call 888-414-1874 or visit the DOTauthority’s website.