The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires drivers to have a number issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and operating authority, also known as an MC number, in certain situations. Drivers must have a DOT number if they operate a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds, transport nine to 15 passengers for compensation, transport 16 or more passengers with or without compensation, or haul hazardous materials.
The FMCSA also requires drivers and/or motor carriers to obtain operating authority in these situations:
- When working as a for-hire carrier, whether the compensation is monetary or non-monetary
- Transporting passengers during interstate commerce or arranging for the transportation of passengers
- Transporting commodities regulated by the federal government or arranging for the transportation of commodities during interstate commerce
Drivers who hold both a DOT number and an MC number sometimes need to separate one from the other. We discuss when this might happen and how to go about separating the two below.
When might a motor carrier want to separate DOT and MC Numbers?
The most common situations when it becomes necessary for a motor carrier to separate these two numbers include switching from interstate to intrastate transport and changing their status from for-profit carrier to private carrier. If you plan to separate the two numbers, however, you can only submit a request to detach if your MC number is not in current pending status with licensing and insurance.
If your current MC number shows as non-authorized in association with your DOT number, it can appear that you are working with a non-authorized DOT number or that you are not currently operating as a motor carrier. In this situation, it would benefit you to detach your MC number from the DOT number if you have no intention of reinstating your authority to offer for-hire transportation services.
Steps involved in detaching MC and DOT Numbers
The FMCSA requires motor carriers wishing to detach their MC number from their DOT number to follow these steps:
- Sign a copy of the MCS-150 form and check the box labeled Biennial Update or Changes under the Reason for Filing section
- Current MC and DOT numbers
- Name of company
- A letter explaining the reason for requesting the detachment of the two numbers with a signature from an authorized representative for the company. This should be the same person whose signature appears on the MCS-150 form.
After completing these steps, you can submit the information by email, fax, or postal mail. To email the forms, upload the required letter and MCS-150 form through the FMCSA web form. This will immediately provide you with a tracking number. You can also fax it. Your last option is to mail the requested information to the address listed on the MCS-150 form.
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