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What’s a DOT Number and Who Needs One?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a Department of Transportation (DOT) number for trucks and other carrier vehicles that meet certain criteria. These typically pertain to GVWR, whether you transport paying customers, and whether you operate across state lines. In addition to the federal regulations, 37 of the 50 states require a DOT number.

It can be confusing, especially if you’re new to the business, to understand if this regulation pertains to you or not. Therefore, in this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about DOT numbers. Let’s get started!

Do I Need a DOT Number?

The FMCSA requires all commercial motor vehicles to apply for a DOT number if they regularly transport specific quantities and types of hazardous materials that would normally require an interstate commerce permit. If you don’t haul hazardous cargo then you’ll need to review the following and obtain a DOT number if one or more of the following statements applies to you:

  • You transport 15 or more passengers, not for compensation
  • You transport 8 or more passengers for compensation.
  • Your truck’s GVWR is 10,001 pounds or more

The FMCSA also requires a DOT number when you’re routinely involved in interstate commerce. To get a better idea of what’s considered out-of-state transportation, check out this blog on intrastate vs interstate.

What’s the Purpose of a DOT Certification?

A DOT number, also known as a DOT certification, is proof that the driver meets certain requirements that prove them skillful and competent to maneuver a commercial motor vehicle throughout the US. You’ll also need to obtain a DOT certification if you wish to obtain a commercial driver’s license. If you’re a new driver hoping to land a job you should know that most employers require applicants to already have a commercial driver’s license because it indicates that they have the required skills and training.

To obtain your DOT certification, you must pass several skills tests and a physical examination. You will receive your DOT number directly from the United States Department of Transportation. The DOT requires commercial drivers to take the qualifying tests and physical exam once every two years to remain certified.

We’re Here to Help

We understand that big rig insurance can seem overwhelming. We invite you to contact us at 678-271-3449 with any questions you have about the transportation industry or insurance. If you’re also in need of a truck insurance quote, fill out our online form and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible.




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