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DOT Authority Requirements

Written by Nick Webster

Published on May 16, 2023, 11:25 a.m.


Here are some of the most essential DOT authority requirements:

  • Comply with hours-of-service regulations.
  • Keep accurate records of driving time and vehicle inspections.
  • Maintain a valid CDL with correct endorsements.
  • Follow all size, weight, and loading rules and regulations.
  • Abide by traffic laws, speed limits, and road signs.
  • Understand hazardous materials shipping requirements.
  • Properly secure all cargo according to specified guidelines.
  • Conduct pre-trip inspections on the truck by DOT standards.
  • Report any maintenance problems or defects immediately upon detection.
  • Refrain from carrying loads over legal maximums or capacity ratings on vehicles or trailer configurations. Also visit Running Under Someone Else's DOT Authority.

Introduction to Trucking Authority

So you're thinking of starting your own trucking company--congratulations! But you'll need to obtain operating authority before you can hit the open road. This is an essential step in setting up any trucking business, but it's just one part of the puzzle. Let's take a closer look at what trucking authority is, how to get it, and what's required when applying for an MC and DOT number. Plus, find out how our team at can make this process even easier for you. Read here about Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.

What Does Trucking Authority Mean?

Motor carrier operating authority, or trucking authority, MC authority, DOT authority, MC number, or USDOT number, is a core element of the trucking industry. These terms are often used interchangeably to refer to the same thing. Motor carriers and their drivers need to understand the concept of motor carrier operating authority for them to operate legally within the trucking industry. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

What Does Operating Authority Mean?

Operating authority is necessary for trucking companies that transport passengers or freight in interstate commerce. This authority is granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) via a Motor Carrier (MC) and USDOT Number. What is Unified Carrier Registration?

These numbers act as identifiers for your business and allow the FMCSA to conduct inspections, monitor safety ratings, review compliance records, and much more. So, if you're ready to hit the road with your trucking business, make sure you get your MC and USDOT Numbers first! How To Request the DOT PIN Number?

Operating Authority Step #1: Start a Company

Certain business basics must be taken care of before you can file the paperwork needed to obtain operating authority. These include setting up your company, obtaining an EIN, and fulfilling other requirements as specified by your state or city. Collecting this information is essential to move forward with the application process. What is the DOT SAP Program?

Operating Authority Step #2: Receive FMCSA Authority

Getting ready to register your motor carrier? The Unified Registration System has replaced the older forms, simplifying the process with a single online registration system. However, it's still a detailed and lengthy application process - so double-check that you have all the information you need before starting! Don't forget to verify whether or not you'll need intrastate authority in your home state as well. You will also be required to pay a filing fee for each type of authority that needs registering. What is MC Number?

Operating Authority Step #3: File Insurance

Getting insurance for your trucking business can be a significant challenge, especially when starting out. Your authority will not be acknowledged as ‘activeuntil you provide proof of insurance coverage. Understandably, rates for such policies tend to be high. To find the best possible rate, fill out applications carefully and openly discuss with insurers what your enterprise plans to achieve. Taking your time and effort on this matter could lead to substantial savings in the long run – so don't rush it! Importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule.

Operating Authority Step #4: Complete UCR Registration

The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) system is an annual registration and payment program that provides funding for states to enforce motor carrier safety laws. The amount of fees due under the UCR are calculated based on the size of one's fleet, and they must be renewed once a year. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

It's important to stay up-to-date with UCR guidelines to comply with regulations. This helps ensure that all motor carriers are held to the same standards and that interstate commerce can be safely conducted. Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics. Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy.

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Operating Authority Step #5: Begin IRP Registration

The International Registration Plan (IRP) is an agreement that facilitates the payment of registration fees through reciprocity between the United States, Washington D.C., and Canadian provinces. This plan allows interstate carriers to pay fees based on their total annual mileage within participating jurisdictions. How do you get an Oregon Trip And Fuel Permit?

This arrangement simplifies the process of registering vehicles across different areas, saving time and money for businesses. By using IRP, carriers can focus on doing what they do best--transporting goods and services while remaining compliant with local registration laws. Visit the DOT Authority Package, which contains tips to prepare for 2022 DOT Week filings in minutes.

Operating Authority Step #6: Take Care of IFTA Registration

Interstate motor carriers must submit their IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) taxes to their base state's taxing authority every three months. Filing this information correctly and on time is essential for compliance with regulations. Failure to file these taxes properly can lead to significant fines and penalties, so it's critical to understand your obligations and ensure you remain in good standing with the authorities. Read about Texas DOT Numbers and USDOT Numbers.

Operating Authority Step #7: File HVUT: Heavy Vehicle Use Tax

Do you own a vehicle weighing 55,000 pounds or more? Then, you must file a Heavy Vehicle Use Tax return (Form 2290) with the IRS every year. Additionally, certain states have additional weight distance taxes for those hauling within their boundaries. If you plan to transport goods through Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, or Oregon, you must register with them too. Make sure to handle all these requirements, so your operations run smoothly! IFTA Sticker Registration steps.

We Can Take Care of All the Operating Authority Steps Above

We understand that the paperwork involved in registering with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can be overwhelming. That's why offers third-party services to help you get your business off the ground and start hauling freight. Whether you need filings, registrations, or just some helpful advice on getting started, we're here for you! Our team will customize a program to fit your exact needs, so you can feel confident that everything is taken care of correctly and efficiently. Get rolling today! Check out The Basics of Farm Exemptions. You will then be able to maintain complete motor carrier authority or broker.

What Is FMCSA Authority to Operate With an MC Number?

Suppose your business involves transporting passengers across state lines for a fee or transporting goods owned by others from one state to another for a price. In that case, you must obtain an Operating Authority (MC number) alongside your DOT number. This is also true if you arrange to transport federally regulated commodities in interstate commerce. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties and fines.

FMCSA Operating Authority is typically characterized by an "MC," "FF," or "MX" number, depending on the type of license granted. Companies that need to conduct various operations and transport different types of cargo may require more than one authority. This authority dictates what kind of business activities are allowed and what cargo can be shipped. Ensure you understand your company's requirements before applying for FMCSA Operating Authority. What are the Top 3 DOT paper-appointed Violations?

Who Does Not Need FMCSA Authority?

Private carriers that transport their own cargo and "for-hire" carriers hauling exempt commodities don't need to acquire operating authority. Additionally, carriers operating within a federally designated "commercial zone" are also exempt from interstate authority rules. For example, a commercial zone could span multiple states near a large city, such as Virginia/Maryland near Washington D.C. You will need driver qualification files.

What Are the Types of Operating Authority?

Regarding the Unified Registration System, where you apply for your MC and DOT Numbers, you have several types of operating authority from which to choose. Yet, if you make the wrong selection, no refunds are available, and correcting errors can be problematic. The three primary types of operating authority include a motor carrier, broker, and freight forwarder. Depending on the type of operation or cargo transported, it may be necessary to possess multiple forms of operating authority. Visit Broker Authority Package

The application process to obtain operating authority from the FMCSA can be tricky, so don't worry if you're feeling lost. The Startup Program is here to help guide you through the registration process via the Unified Registration System, also known as URS. We'll ensure your application runs smoothly and efficiently, giving you one less thing to stress about. So forget about the headaches, and let us handle it! With us on your side, obtaining authority has never been easier and filed out by all employees who drive for you to work. Also, take a look at what IRP or Apportioned Registration is.

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    Summary: What Are the Most Important DOT Authority Requirements in Trucking?

    • DOT authority requirements are critical for trucking companies to comply with federal regulations.
    • All interstate carriers must have a USDOT number and register in the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) system before legally operating. How Much Does a Dot Number Cost
    • Carriers must also abide by hours of service (HOS) rules, which dictate how many hours drivers can be on the road at any given time.
    • Companies must complete drug and alcohol testing for all new drivers and conduct regular tests throughout their employment.
    • Drivers must possess valid state driver's licenses and carry proof of medical examination certification. Learn About FMCSA Registration
    • Companies must maintain accurate records of each vehicle's maintenance history, including inspection reports from authorized mechanics.
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