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What is a USDOT Number?
A USDOT number is a unique identifier assigned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the USDOT. It’s used to collect, monitor, and maintain information regarding a company’s safety information, including compliance reviews, inspections, and crash investigations.
Who Needs a USDOT Number?
The requirement for this number is determined based on a variety of factors such as:
- The type of cargo being transported
- The vehicle’s weight
- Whether the transportation is interstate (crossing state or national boundaries) or intrastate (within a single state)
Specifically this number is required for:
- Commercial vehicles involved in interstate commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater.
- Vehicles designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation.
- Vehicles designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and not used to transport passengers for compensation.
- Vehicles involved in interstate commerce and used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous and transported in a quantity requiring placards.
How to Obtain a USDOT Number
Obtaining this number involves registering your company with the FMCSA. This can be done online through the Unified Registration System (URS). During the registration process, you will need to provide various information about your business including its name, type of business, company officer details, types of cargo to be hauled, and more.
To start the process visit URS here.
After successful registration, a USDOT number will be assigned to your company. This number must be displayed prominently on every vehicle in your fleet.
USDOT Number Updates and Renewal
Companies must update their USDOT registration information every two years, or earlier if there are changes to the information on record, such as company name, address, or other details. There is also an annual renewal process, which involves payment of the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) fee.
Checking a US DOT Number – How to Find a Company Snapshot
To check a US DOT number, you’ll need to visit the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System website, managed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Once there, select ‘Company Snapshot’ in the center of the page. Input the DOT number in the appropriate field and click ‘Search’. You’ll then be provided with a snapshot of the company’s identification, size, commodity information, and safety record, including safety rating (if any), a roadside out-of-service inspection summary, and crash information.
When evaluating the information, pay particular attention to the safety rating, inspection records, and crash reports. These provide valuable insights into the safety practices of the carrier. A satisfactory safety rating and a lower number of violations or crashes indicate a more reliable and safer carrier. Understanding how to check and interpret US DOT numbers is an essential skill for anyone involved in the trucking industry, ensuring they can make informed decisions and promote safety on the roads.
Visit SAFER at this link to check a US DOT Number.
This number is more than just an identifier; it’s a critical element in the regulatory framework that keeps the trucking industry safe and accountable. Understanding the importance of the USDOT number and maintaining compliance with its associated requirements is crucial for any company operating in the trucking industry.
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