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Do I Need a DOT Number for Intrastate?

Oct 31, 2023
DOT Number
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If you manage and operate your trucking company within one state, you might seek answers to questions like, “Do I need a DOT number for intrastate travel?” After all, you want to eliminate paperwork as much as possible to save time and resources. Although FMCA Filings makes applying for a new USDOT number and other permits seamless, many truckers understandably look to streamline the process further. 

You can learn more about intrastate requirements and whether you need a DOT number below. 

What Is a DOT Number?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration uses your United States Department of Transportation number to identify your trucking company under various circumstances. These unique identifying numbers ensure trucking companies comply with federal safety regulations. 

When the FMCSA assigns a unique number sequence to each motor carrier, its officials can find:

  • Information about safety audits
  • Penalties and violations the carrier earned
  • Whether the carrier paid the necessary fees
  • Whether the driver or carrier has any strikes against their safety reports

Drivers who share the road with DOT-certified truck drivers can also submit complaints using the DOT number if the driver practices unsafe behavior while driving. 

What Does Intrastate Mean?

“Intrastate” refers to vehicle travel confined within one state, whereas interstate refers to travel that crosses state lines. Different states have varying requirements for intrastate commercial vehicle operators. Your state’s requirements may differ vastly from the regulations of another state. 

What Is Intrastate Authority?

When a driver crosses the border into another state, they must have the appropriate authority to operate their vehicle within that state. Intrastate authority requirements differ from state to state. Some examples of these requirements include:

  • DOT numbers
  • Intrastate carrier numbers
  • Highway tax decals

Check the requirements for your state and any state that borders it. 

You might wonder, “Do I need a DOT number for intrastate travel?” Learn whether the state in which you operate and surrounding states require a DOT number.

If so, you need a DOT number for intrastate travel. Most of the 50 states require motor carriers to obtain a number. 

Which States Require Intrastate Authority Numbers?

California requires all commercial vehicle operators to have the following:

  • California Employer Pull Notice for CDL vehicles
  • California Identification Number
  • California Motor Carrier Permit

If you operate within California, you must obtain a DOT number before applying for these intrastate permits. 

Requirements for Intrastate Authority

A state’s requirements for intrastate authority may vary. For example, California requires commercial vehicle operators to obtain their permits from various state government organizations:

  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles issues state MCPs. MCPs have similar requirements as DOT numbers. 
  • The DMV also ensures a carrier’s EPN enrollment. This enrollment protects and monitors a carrier’s drivers. 
  • The California Highway Patrol issues CA numbers. If you need an MCP, you should obtain a CA number first. You may require assistance from a digital filing service to complete the extensive and complex application process. 

Do I Need a DOT Number for Intrastate Travel?

Your state may not require a DOT number for intrastate travel. However, you should obtain one regardless, as your number protects your fleet and drivers from the consequences of crossing state borders.

Why would an intrastate operator cross state borders? Unforeseen circumstances, like traffic issues and inclement weather, can occur. These circumstances may force a driver to detour into a bordering state. 

The driver could incur penalties during a traffic stop or truck inspection without the proper operating authority. Otherwise, they must wait out the weather issues or traffic problems, which causes your company to miss its bottom line. 

Operating without a DOT number can limit your service in other ways. Some cargo companies will not work with trucking services that do not have a DOT number, even when their cargo remains in state. 

Additionally, over half of the United States requires a DOT number for intrastate commerce. You should also apply if:

  • You require a safety permit because you transport hazardous materials.
  • Your vehicle has a gross combination weight rating of over 10,000 pounds.
  • Your vehicles transport more than 15 passengers for compensation.
  • You transport over eight people without compensation over state borders.

Even strictly intrastate trucking companies can greatly benefit from a DOT number while meeting other in-state operation requirements. 

Acquire Compliance Permits With Ease From FMCA Filings

“Do I need a DOT number for intrastate operations?” The answer depends on the state in which you operate. Under most circumstances, you should obtain a DOT number to comply with federal and state regulations. 

Federal Motor Carrier Authority Filings simplifies compliance for all types of trucking operations. Additionally, their team touches on pertinent subjects like how to check the status of your DOT number and more. Explore more filing options with FMCA Filings’ solutions today to streamline carrier compliance.

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