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When USDOT Numbers Are Required and Where To Display Them | Must Read

When USDOT Numbers Are Required and Where To Display Them | Must Read

Companies that operate commercial vehicles transporting passengers or hauling cargo in interstate commerce must be registered with the FMCSA and must have a USDOT Number. Also, commercial intrastate hazardous materials carriers who haul types and quantities requiring a safety permit must register for a USDOT Number.

FMCSA specifically states:

“You are required to obtain a USDOT number if you have a vehicle that:

    •    Is used to transport the types and quantities of hazardous materials requiring a safety permit in intrastate commerce (see 49 CFR 385.403).


    •    Has 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. OR

    •    Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or

    •    Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; — (SEE NOTES)

AND is involved in Interstate commerce:

Trade, traffic, or transportation in the United States—

    •    Between a place in a State and a place outside of such State (including a place outside of the United States);

    •    Between two places in a State through another State or a place outside of the United States; or

    •    Between two places in a State as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the State or the United States. “


Pursuant to 49 CFR 390.21;

FMCSA requires carriers to display the legal name of the business entity that owns or controls the motor carrier operation, or the ``doing business as'' (DBA) name, and the city and state for the principal place of business as they appear on the Form MCS–150; in addition to carrier’s assigned USDOT NUMBER.

The FMCSA believes it is important that CMVs be properly marked before they are placed into service on the highway. Such markings will assist State officials conducting roadside inspections and accident investigations in attributing important safety data to the correct motor carrier. It will also ensure the public has an effective means to identify motor carriers operating in an unsafe manner.


    •    Carriers information must be displayed on both sides of the vehicle

    •    All information should be visible from a minimum of 50 feet away

    •    Custom truck door decals should be in a contrasting color

    •    Regulation numbers must be in a easily legible font

Motor carriers seeking a copy of Form MCS–150 may obtain it from the Internet through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration web page at: For filing instructions:


NPRM (64 FR 48518) concerning the applicability of specific provisions of the FMCSRs to this class of passenger vehicles. That action responded to congressional direction contained in section 4008(a) of the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA–21) (Pub. L. 105–178, 112 Stat. 107, June 9, 1999), which amended the definition of the term ‘‘commercial motor vehicle’’ found at 49 U.S.C. 31132 to cover vehicles ‘‘designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation”

Among other things, the September 3 NPRM proposed to require that motor carriers operating CMVs designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation file a motor carrier identification report and mark their CMVs with a USDOT number and other identifying information (i.e., name or trade name and address of the principal place of business)

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  • Andres Espinoza