If you run a business that involves moving people or goods, you probably need to apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation, or USDOT, for an identification number. Transportation firms also need to register with the USDOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The USDOT uses this information to keep track of a firm’s safety records.
The federal government requires all companies that move goods across state lines, and all companies that transport hazardous material within state lines, to file for a USDOT number. Many states require all companies that operate commercial motor vehicles to get a USDOT number. Each company has a unique USDOT number covering its vehicles.
Interstate vs. Intrastate USDOT Numbers
Intrastate business occurs within one state’s boundaries. Interstate commerce involves moving goods or passengers across at least one state line. When registering for a USDOT number, businesses must report whether they will be operating within (intrastate) or across (interstate) state lines.
An intrastate USDOT number classifies the business as operating within one state.
Changes from Intrastate to Interstate Status
Firms can change the status of their USDOT numbers to interstate from intrastate by filing an update with the Department of Transportation. A business retains the same registration number when it changes status, but its classification changes. Companies do not need to file separately with the USDOT for intrastate or interstate registration, so an intrastate USDOT number is not wholly distinct from an interstate USDOT number.
Purpose of Intrastate DOT Number
The federal government has an interest in keeping safety records regarding companies that transport hazardous materials. Some states require registration with the USDOT to help with their own record-keeping, and because some automated registration systems use the federal USDOT number as the standard means of identification.
States That Require USDOT Registration
These states require all commercial vehicle operators to register with the USDOT: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.