Motor Carrier Search DOT Driver/Files Broker Authority DOT Authority Plates Licensing Products

Who Is Exempt From a DOT Number?

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 5:04 p.m.


“Who is exempt from a DOT number?” is an important question in the trucking industry. Here is who has an exemption from having to register a DOT number: Your organization must follow all applicable passenger carrier regulations and laws. This is true whether yours is a faith-based, educational, non-profit organization.

When Must You Have a DOT Number?

  • Private carriers who transport their own goods and do not hire commercial drivers. (If the truck weighs more than 10,000lb or haul a trailer you must have a DOT Number.)
  • Local delivery businesses that do not travel interstate, even if they use motor vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs.
  • Government agencies operate motor vehicles for government purposes.
  • Nonprofit organizations operating for charitable or educational purposes only.
  • Farmers transporting agricultural products crops, livestock, farm machinery, and supplies used in the production of agricultural products from one place to another within a 150 air miles radius of their farms. What is the DOT SAP Program?
  • Household goods carriers who move personal possessions of individuals while they are engaged in a residential relocation process. Read here about Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.

What Are DOT Numbers?

If you're operating a commercial vehicle that weighs more than a certain amount, carries paying passengers, or operates between states, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires you to have a DOT number. Depending on where your business is located, additional local DOT requirements may also apply. Obtaining and properly displaying your DOT number is an important step for any commercial vehicle operator to stay compliant with federal regulations. How To Request the DOT PIN Number?

What Is DOT Certification?

Achieving DOT certification is an indication of superior driving skills and competence. It shows that a driver can handle commercial motor vehicles on public roads and highways safely and responsibly. Most states require this certification as part of their licensing requirements for operating:

  • semi-trucks
  • delivery vans
  • buses
  • taxis
  • other commercial vehicles

If you intend to become a commercial driver, you'll need more than just a personal driver's license. To be fully compliant with federal regulations, you must get DOT certified. Most employers in the fleet industry will require that you have a commercial driver's license as evidence of your certification. Visit DOT Authority Package, Tips to prepare for 2022 DOT Week filings in minutes. How to get an Oregon Trip And Fuel Permit?

To receive your DOT certification, there are some tests and physical exams that must be completed. The U.S. Department of Transportation oversees these certifications and requires drivers to re-apply for their certification every two years. Providing proof of your DOT certification is essential for those seeking employment as a commercial motor vehicle operator. Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics.

When Must You Have a DOT Number?

All trucking companies that use commercial vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds to carry freight or transport passengers across state borders must be enrolled with the FMCSA and obtain a DOT number. The DOT number refers to the carrier rather than individual trucks. Additionally, FMCSA regulations also necessitate obtaining a DOT number from carriers who transport hazardous materials such as:

  • propane
  • fertilizers
  • pesticides
  • herbicides
  • certain acetylene tanks

In certain circumstances, determining if a vehicle is engaged in interstate commerce can be confusing. If a vehicle travels between two points within one state but goes through another state along the way, the transport is still categorized as interstate commerce. Also, when a vehicle moves between two locations within the same state and the transportation or transaction starts or terminates outside of the state—even beyond U.S. borders—it also is considered as interstate commerce. Importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule.​​​

What Are the Main USDOT Number Requirements?

Filing and submitting a USDOT application is a straightforward process, but it's important to know the legal classifications of your business before you start. To make sure everything goes smoothly, make sure you have gathered the following information: company operation, operation classification, and cargo classification. Having these details on hand will help ensure your application is processed quickly and efficiently. Read about Texas DOT Numbers and USDOT Numbers.

You will need to provide further details on the number of vehicles you plan to use, what types they are, whether you own or lease them, and the scope of your operations such as intrastate or interstate. If hazardous chemicals are part of your plans, it is also important to know your hazmat classification. These details must be accurate for the DOT to process your application. Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

Does a Farming Vehicle Need a DOT Number?

If you're operating a farming vehicle, it's important to know if you need to obtain a USDOT number. Depending on the laws of your state, you may not be required to have one for vehicles used solely on private farmland. However, if you're hired by a farm owner to operate such a vehicle, having a commercial driver’s license is likely necessary. What is Unified Carrier Registration?

Also, keep in mind that some farming territories cross into other states. So even if your primary area of operation doesn't require USDOT registration, it might still be necessary if you're traveling through an adjacent state. It's always best to check with your state government or local Department of Transportation to confirm whether or not you'll need a DOT number before taking the wheel. Check out The Basics of Farm Exemptions. You will then have the ability to maintain complete motor carrier authority or broker.

Does a Landscaping Vehicle Need a DOT Number?

It's important to be aware of your state's laws regarding commercial vehicles, especially if you use a landscaping vehicle. Even if it doesn't weigh more than 10,000 pounds and you don't drive it on roads, you may still have to apply for a DOT number to be able to operate lawfully. Also, Visit the website link.

Find out what the FMCSA registration requirements are in your area by checking with the local motor vehicle website. If you cross interstate lines and break any laws, you could face fines. Fines even apply to first-time offenders. So make sure you're familiar with the regulations that affect your business! What are the Top 3 DOT paper-appointed Violations?

Does a Van Need a DOT Number?

If you use a van or any small passenger carrier vehicle to transport nine to fifteen individuals, and receive payment directly from those passengers, then you must acquire a DOT number. This is because direct compensation makes your carrier operation subject to FMCSA regulations. Visit BOC-3.

If you are using a van for commercial transportation, it is necessary to obtain a DOT number if you will be traveling across state lines. Make sure you check the regulations in your area because the requirements vary from state to state. You will need driver qualification files filed out by all employees who drive for you working. Also, take a look at What Is IRP or Apportioned Registration.

Does a Pickup Truck Need a DOT Number?

Pickup trucks typically don't need a DOT number since they normally weigh less than 10,000 pounds. Since pickup trucks and their trailers rarely transport passengers for compensation (especially nine or more), most FMCSA requirements do not apply to them. Therefore, it is unlikely that a DOT number is necessary for these vehicles.

For those who use a pickup truck for outcall work, as long as it falls within the weight limit, it won't be considered a commercial vehicle even if there's a business decal on it. However, suppose you are employed by a company that dispatches you from one job to another for repairs and maintenance-related tasks. In that case, your employer may require that you have a commercial driver's license regardless of whether or not the truck is only used for personal purposes.

Does a Gooseneck Trailer Need a DOT Number?

Using a gooseneck trailer for personal reasons? The FMCSA has established requirements that you'll need to meet, depending on the weight of your vehicle and trailer. If it's under 10,000 pounds, no DOT number is required. However, be sure to review your state's regulations as well. Knowing the rules will help ensure you stay safe and compliant on the road.

If you're using your trailer-truck combo for commercial purposes, you may need to get a Department of Transportation number depending on the laws in your state. If you plan to transport the trailer and truck over state lines or they weigh more than 10,000 pounds, then getting a USDOT registration is necessary.

How Do I Get a DOT Number?

For the majority of carriers, you'll need to fill out the MCS-150 form. If your commercial vehicle operation deals with hazardous materials and/or intermodal equipment, you'll need to complete either the MCS-150B or MCS-150C form instead. The MCS-150B combines USDOT registration and hazmat application, while the MCS-150C combines USDOT registration and Intermodal Equipment Provider application.

When you submit your registration form online, the USDOT can typically process it in just a few days. If you choose to mail in your application, however, please allow 4-6 weeks for processing. The USDOT will promptly review and process all applications as soon as they are received.

Unless the USDOT decides to refuse your application, your DOT number will be issued immediately upon completion of processing. To avoid unnecessary delays in obtaining your number, we recommend using the online form instead of filling out a handwritten copy as illegible handwriting, incomplete information or an unsigned form can lead to rejection.

Our Third-Party Experts Provide DOT Registration

Our third-party registration service has the expertise to ensure your FMCSA registrations for commercial motor vehicles comply with all local and federal regulations. Having client registration files ready, we keep track of all deadlines for re-registrations so that trucking companies can focus on managing fleets and dispatching drivers. Let our team take care of all the boring DOT paperwork while you focus on what matters! Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

Summary: Who Can Gain an Exemption from DOT Numbers?

All public and private motor carriers of property, those providing passenger service, brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies are required to obtain a USDOT number. Exemptions from this requirement may be granted under certain conditions:

  • Private motor carriers transporting exempt commodities;
  • Non-business related movements of personal property;
  • Motor carriers operating solely within the boundaries of one state that do not transport hazardous materials in any amount;
  • Farm vehicles used only for farming purposes;
  • Recreational vehicles operated by their owners or lessees for personal use only.
  • Fire truck equipment owned by volunteer fire departments; and
  • Household goods are transported at no charge.
Related tags
Explore Filing Options

Let's Talk