Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on the state you are operating in, you may be required to obtain a USDOT number even if you only operate intrastate and your cargo or vehicle never crosses state lines. Some states have their own intrastate regulations that require carriers to obtain a USDOT number, while others may not. It is recommended that you check with your state's Department of Transportation or responsible state agency to determine if you need a USDOT number. Additionally, even if you are not required to obtain a USDOT number, you may still need to comply with other state and federal regulations, such as safety and insurance requirements.
You may also refer to the FMCSA Registration Page.
Puerto Rican motor carriers and freight forwarders do need operating authority in certain cases, depending on where they are operating. If an entity domiciled in Puerto Rico operates between Puerto Rico and the United States, then it does need operating authority for that portion of the operation taking place within the United States. However, if it operates solely within Puerto Rico, or between Puerto Rico and a foreign country (not a US state or territory), then it does not need operating authority from the FMCSA. Source: 49 U.S. Code § 13102 - Definitions; 13501 - General jurisdiction; 13531 - General jurisdiction.
Yes. The HM Safety Permit requirements are enacted under the authority of the Hazardous Materials Law, which applies to U.S. Territories.
Materials poisonous by inhalation that meet the definitions in 49 CFR parts 171.8, 173.116(a) and 173.133(a) will require a permit regardless of other hazards the materials may exhibit. Materials will generally not have a subsidiary radioactive or explosive hazard as these hazards would be considered the primary hazard. Liquefied gases must have at least 85% methane content to require a permit, or meet the definitions of materials toxic by inhalation, explosive or radioactive.
Last Updated : April 14, 2014
No, a broker assumes no responsibility for the shipment and does not touch the shipment. A claim must be filed with the appropriate motor carrier, which usually would be the delivering carrier or the carrier causing the loss. Brokers may, however, assist shippers in filing claims with the motor carrier on the shipper’s behalf.
No. Anyone brokering a load must be registered as a broker, which by definition may only arrange -- not perform -- transportation unless the person is also separately registered as a motor carrier. A motor carrier that is performing part of the transportation as an interline operation, however, typically performs that service under its own motor carrier operating authority registration or the operating authority of the originating motor carrier. As a result, the motor carrier arranging the interline service in order to perform the transportation service requested by the shipper would not be brokering the load and would not require broker registration.
Last Updated : May 8, 2014
Yes. As a practical matter, any IEP that sends chassis into the 50 States and the District of Columbia will have to mark those chassis as required by the IEP final rule (73 FR 76794). Otherwise, the motor carrier pulling the chassis/container combination would have violated the marking regulation (§ 390.21).
Because motor carriers are unlikely to accept the risk of fines for transporting unmarked chassis, foreign or non-‘United States’ IEPs that know their equipment will operate within the United States may find it necessary, for business reasons, to file a Form MCS-150C and mark their equipment. FMCSA will accept registration applications from such entities and issue them USDOT numbers. In these cases, however, the assignment of an identifying number does not amount to an assertion of jurisdiction over the foreign or non-United States IEP.
Last Updated : April 7, 2014
Who is eligible to obtain temporary authority?
A motor or passenger carrier wishing to apply for temporary operating authority registration authorizing for-hire commercial motor and passenger vehicle operations, while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting supplies, equipment and persons into or from the zone where the emergency is taking place.
When is temporary authority available?
Applications for temporary authority require a determination that there is, or soon will be, an immediate transportation need that cannot be met by existing motor carrier service. 49 CFR 365.107T(f). Such applications are only entertained in exceptional circumstances, during natural disasters or national emergencies. 49 CFR 365.107T(g). In most circumstances, the Agency will only entertain applications for temporary authority when an emergency declaration has been issued, consistent with 49 CFR 390.23.
Where can I find information on current emergency declarations?
Go to https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency for links to current FMCSA emergency declarations. The temporary authority is only active as long as the emergency declaration is in effect. All temporary authorities will be revoked once the emergency declaration expires.
How can a carrier apply for this temporary authority?
- If a carrier does not have a USDOT number, they must apply for one by submitting a signed MCS-150 form (write “Emergency Temporary Authority” at the top) with their OP-1, rather than filing via URS. To access the MCS-150 form, click here. Carriers that are subject to an FMCSA Out of Service Order are not eligible for temporary authority.
- A carrier must file a signed form OP-1 with “Emergency Temporary Authority” written at the top along with the specific Emergency Declaration found at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency-declarations by fax/web form rather than online. To access form OP-1, click here. You can submit it by:
- Submitting a ticket through our website at: ask.fmcsa.dot.gov. Select Inquiry Type: Operating Authority (Docket Number) > Request temporary operating authority due to an emergency declaration – This is the fastest option; or
- Fax: 202-366-3477 (Put “Emergency Temporary Authority” on the fax cover sheet)
- The application fee has been waived.
- The carrier must also file proof of insurance and have form BOC-3 (Designation of Process Agent) on file with FMCSA. For more information on insurance requirements click here, and for and BOC-3 requirements, click here.
- Pursuant to 49 CFR 365.107T(g), the carrier is also required to provide a statement on why they need temporary operating authority, appended to Form OP-1 for property carriers, Form OP-1(MX) for Mexican property carriers and, Form OP-1(P) for motor passenger carriers.
How long does it take for temporary authority to be granted?
OP-1 applications for temporary authority should be processed within 48 business hours of receipt. However, the authority will not be granted until the carrier’s evidence of financial responsibility (insurance) and BOC-3 form are on file with FMCSA.
The authority is valid for 120 days or until the emergency declaration expires, whichever comes first.
If a carrier wishes to apply for permanent authority, they need to apply using the same MC/USDOT number granted for the temporary authority. The applicant would be required to pay the $300 fee for permanent operating authority registration, as well. For more information, click here.
Last Updated : April 1, 2014
No. There is no fee schedule.
Last Updated : April 1, 2014
The FMCSRs do not apply directly in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands because those jurisdictions do not fall within the definition of a "State" in 49 U.S.C. 31132(8). However, those jurisdictions are defined as "States" for purposes of the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) (49 U.S.C. 31101(4)).
Therefore, as a condition of accepting MCSAP funds, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands must adopt regulations "compatible" with 49 CFR 390-397 (see 49 CFR 350.201(a)). "Compatible" means that "State laws and regulations applicable to interstate commerce and to intrastate movement of hazardous materials are identical to the FMCSRs and the HMRs or have the same effect as the FMCSRs."
An intermodal equipment provider in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands must therefore comply with the "compatible" regulations those jurisdictions adopt to remain eligible for MCSAP funds.
Last Updated : April 7, 2014
Does the legalization of the use and possession of marijuana by a State, or other country that has drivers who operate in the United States, change the treatment of marijuana use under federal regulations applicable to drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) (as defined in 49 CFR § 390.5)?
No. Marijuana, including a mixture or preparation containing marijuana, continues to be classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 21 CFR § 1308.11. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), a person is not physically qualified to drive a CMV if he or she uses any Schedule I controlled substance such as marijuana. (See 49 CFR §§ 391.11(b)(4) and 391.41(b)(12)). In addition to the physical qualification requirements, the FMCSRs prohibit a driver from being in possession of or under the influence of any Schedule I controlled substance, including marijuana, while on duty, and prohibit motor carriers from permitting a driver to be on duty if he or she possesses, is under the influence of, or uses a Schedule I controlled substance. (See 49 CFR §§ 392.2 and 392.4). Legalization of marijuana use by States and other jurisdictions also has not modified the application of U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug testing regulations in 49 CFR parts 40 and 382. (See https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/medical-marijuana-notice and https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/odapc-notice-recreational-mj.pdf.)
Last Updated : October 23, 2017
Yes. Section 393.93 of the FMCSRs (49 CFR 393.93) requires seat belts on trucks, truck tractors, and buses manufactured on or after January 1, 1965. For vehicles built on or after January 1, 1965, but before July 1, 1971, the seat belts must comply with the FMCSRs in effect on the date of manufacture.
For vehicles built on or after July 1, 1971, the seat belts must comply with the applicable National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards concerning seat belts (49 CFR 571.208, 571.209, and 571.210).
When the FMCSRs require conformity to a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, the vehicle or equipment must conform to the version of the Standard that is in effect on the date the vehicle, or a subsequent version of the requirements.
Last Updated : April 15, 2014
Driving School Applicability: Is a person who is attending a truck driving school, and does not yet have a commercial learner’s permit or CDL, required to complete the return-to-duty process if they test positive on a DOT pre-employment test at the school?
Persons who do not have a commercial learner’s permit or CDL are not subject to the DOT drug and alcohol testing program. Therefore a drug test performed by the driving school on a student that does not possess a commercial learner’s permit or CDL does not qualify as a DOT pre-employment test and the student would not be subject to the DOT return-to-duty process.
Truck driving schools/employers must include prospective student drivers that possess a commercial learner’s permit or CDL in their DOT testing program before such drivers are allowed to operate a CMV that requires a CDL. See §382.103, Question 2.
Last Updated : May 14, 2015
Employer Requirements for Positives: Medical Review Officers (MROs) are required to maintain a signed or stamped and dated copy of Copy 2 of the control custody form (CCF) for positive drug test determinations. Are employers subject to the same requirement?
MRO record retention requirements for drug test results are found at §40.163. Pursuant to §382.401, employers must maintain certain drug and alcohol testing records for five (5) years, including positive drug test results. Employers may maintain these records electronically so long as they are able to produce the records for inspection pursuant to §390.31.
Last Updated : May 14, 2015
The certificate is valid for 2 years. In addition, drivers with specific medical conditions require more frequent certification:
Hypertension (high blood pressure) stable on treatment 1 year
Heart disease 1 year
Qualified under 391.64 the original diabetes and vision waiver program 1 year
New insulin and vision exemption program 1 year
Driving in exempt intra-city zone 1 year
Determination by examiner that condition requires more frequent monitoring, such as diabetes mellitus or sleep disorders.
Last Updated : April 1, 2014
Recently, industry presented a compelling argument that sand vehicles used in fracking operations (frack sand trucks) should be considered specialized oilfield equipment because they fit the criteria in paragraph 1 of Regulatory Guidance Question 8, as follows: (1) specially constructed for use at oil and gas well sites, and (2) for which the operators require extensive training in the operation of the complex equipment, in addition to driving the vehicle.
Last Updated : April 12, 2018
Part 382 requires that random testing be spread reasonably throughout the calendar year. [§382.305(k)(2)] Random tests must be unannounced. Further answers on random test selection may be found at the Office of Drug and Alcohol and Policy (ODPAC) ODAPC’s Best Practices for DOT Random Drug and Alcohol Testing.
Last Updated : May 20, 2015
No, the driver may hold a valid license for the type of vehicle operated that is issued by the Mexico’s Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT). Licensing is not dependent on place of employment.
However, to clarify further, the U.S. only recognizes the license (Licencia Federal de Conductor) issued by Mexico's SCT (NOT a Mexican-state-issued license) as reciprocal for operation in the U.S.
Last Updated : September 8, 2015