What is the FMCSA Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?

There are a few yet very basic points of difference between the MC number which is the operating authority and the US department of transportation number which is the USDOT number. If you want to function in the transportation and logistics industry seamlessly, you must be aware of both these numbers and what they are used for.

If you wish to start your own trucking company, you will have to have both the US DOT as well as the motor carrier number which is the MC number. Most people find these regulations or prerequisites to be very complicated. This is not the case at all. If you are not able to understand the differences between the two or whether your company needs them or not, this blog is for you. A few general rules that apply to every trucking company are given below and they will help you understand your needs better:

  • If you intend to perform interstate commerce, you will need both the DOT number and the MC number
  • For any activities related to intrastate commerce, you only need the DOT number
  • You will need only a DOT number if you want to haul your own property or any kind of construction equipment
  • You may need a DOT as well as an MC number if you want to haul someone else’s property and if you are working as a “for-hire” professional

What Is A USDOT Number?

We hear a lot about the US DOT number but there are still a lot of misconceptions around it. The USDOT number is also known as the department of transportation number and it is typically assigned to a trucking company by the federal motor carrier safety administration operating authority.

Every commercial motor vehicle that weighs more than a certain amount or carries a specific category of goods across borders or carries more than a certain number of passengers is required to have a DOT number. Remember that you will need a DOT number regardless of whether you operate within a single state or are traveling across state lines.

What Is An MC Number?

The MC number is also called the motor carrier number. It is a unique identifier that is again assigned by the FMCSA to commercial motor vehicles. If you are in the business of transporting interstate cargo inside a state or across the state lines regularly, you will need an MC number.

What Is The Difference Between The Two?

Both these numbers are a type of operating authority. One of the biggest differences between the two is that they are required either within or outside the confines of the home state where your company is registered. When it comes to performing commerce within the state or outside its limits, you will require a USDOT number.

However, if you are only operating within your state lines without crossing any borders whatsoever, you can drop the idea of getting a USDOT number. You require an MC number if you only perform interstate operations where you will be crossing borders regularly to transport regulated commodities on a “for-hire” basis.

Us DOT Number And MC Number – Deciding Between The Two Operating Authorities

The specifics of your trucking company and the operations that you perform should help you decide which authority to choose over the other. You will have to understand your gross vehicle weight rating and whether your operations take you beyond your home state borders or not. If you are a moving company or a passenger carrier, there will be different requirements for you.

Do You Need A DOT Number?

If you want to understand whether you need a DOT number or not, there are certain requirements that your vehicle should meet. These are set by the FMCSA and they will determine whether you qualify for a DOT number or not. You will need this authority if:

  • You are involved in the business of hauling hazardous materials that call for a special safety permit either within one state or across different states
  • The vehicle that you own has a gross weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more than that
  • The vehicle that you use is designed for hire and can be used to transport at least 8 passengers or more than that
  • Your vehicle is designed for or is being used to transport more than 15 passengers but is not used for compensation

Do You Need An MC Number?

Similar to the requirements of the DOT number, there are a few prerequisites relating to an MC number as well. If you own a trucking company, you may need an MC number in the following cases:

  • If you are planning on operating for hire, you may need this number
  • In case you want to transport passengers or arrange for transportation in interstate commerce
  • Any trucking company involved in hauling federally regulated loads or actively arranging transport in interstate commerce should get this number

There are certain exceptions to these requirements such as:

  • If you are hauling your own property, you might not need this number
  • Any company that hauls loads that are not regulated under the federal laws
  • If you haul across states and areas where regular interstate commerce rules do not apply

There are other formalities and documents in addition to a DOT number and an MC number that you should be aware of. Let’s have a look at what they are:

BOC-3 Filing

The BOC 3 filing stands for blanket of coverage. Under the federal government, it is a form that is required as proof that your transportation company has identified a legal agent to whom all your service of process documents will be served. This is similar to having a registered agent in any of the territories across the US where a business conducts its regular activities.

A transportation carrier is required to have a Boc-3 process agent in any of the states that they cross or drive through for business purposes. If you fail to designate a process agent in a state where you are conducting business, or traveling through, it could result in serious fines and penalties for you. You can also fall out of compliance with the state in question.

Regardless of whether you work as a motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder, every transportation business has to have a BOC3 in all the states where it operates its vehicles.

UCR Number

The unified carrier registration act of 2005 has created the unified carrier registration program. It replaces the former system which is the single state registration system.

In The End, What Kind Of Businesses Do Not Require Any Authority At All?

If you are a private carrier that only transports its own cargo, you may not need any authority at all. If you are a for-hire carrier that transports exempt commodities which are not regulated under federal law, you may not have to apply for any authority at all.

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