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Helping Trucking Companies get set up right and remain compliant to reduce liability, exposure and risk















How To Get A Dot Number
Friday, December 14, 2018 9:51 AM
What is A DOT Number?

A DOT number is a number issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which identifies a company as having one or more trucks that fall under FMCSA regulations. This number is registered with the FMCSA who handles the regulations placed on transportation involved in interstate commerce. Any business that transports goods or passengers from state to state in a commercial vehicle, known as interstate commerce, is required by federal regulation to obtain a DOT number. There are also 37 states that require USDOT numbers to be obtained for those businesses conducting only intrastate commerce. Intrastate commerce as any business that transports goods within their business' home state. All companies utilizing commercial vehicles for business purposes should check both their state and federal regulations to see what certifications and licensing will be needed.

According to the FMCSA, any vehicle meeting the following qualifications will be required to obtain a DOT number:
  • The vehicle is over 10,000 pounds.
  • The vehicle is compensated for the transport between 9 to 15 passengers. This count includes the driver of the vehicle.
  • The vehicle transport 16 or more passengers for any reason.
  •  The vehicle is used for any hazmat service or transport. (FMCSA)
DOT Inspection
The FMCSA uses DOT numbers to aid in the supervision of companies involved in all interstate commerce. This supervision allows for regulatory practices including inspections, compliance reviews, audits, crash inspections, etc. Many of these inspections occur randomly or in the event of an incident that would prompt a review. A DOT number helps the FMCSA keep track of all inspections, reviews, violations, and up-to-date company information. Individual states may also use DOT numbers as noted for their own regulations and supervisory practices. The state agency within a company's home state will specify the parameters, requirements, and process for obtaining proper identification for each business' unique situation.

I’ve heard the term CSA or DOT score before. Is that the same as the USDOT number?

A CSA score (compliance, safety, and accountability), sometimes referred to as a DOT score, is an analysis of your roadside inspections as compared to other carriers of similar size and scope. It is here where, if violations are discovered, points are assigned. These inspections stay on your record for two years. High CSA scores look bad to shippers, insurance carriers, and FMCSA.

How do I know what my CSA score means?

Understanding your CSA score can be difficult. There are a lot of factors that go into it. Companies will want to be sure that they are actively monitoring their score and making adjustments so it doesn't get higher. Thurcorp has a great CSA score report that breaks down your score and makes it very easy to understand. At a glance you'll be able to see exactly where you need to make improvements. To learn more about your CSA score, contact Thurcorp directly at info@thurcorp.com
Thurcorp - DOT Application
How Do I Get A DOT Number?

To obtain a DOT number, any business conducting interstate commerce or qualifying by way of the qualifications mentioned previously would need to register using the online registration system through the FMCSA. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set up registration through the Unified Registration System. While carriers have previously been able to register via paper application, the system has moved to a completely electronic system. Carriers may still make updates to previous DOT number information via paper registration or through the online system found on the FMCSA website (FMCSA).

The Unified Registration System (URS) can be found online and the entire DOT number application process is to be completed through this electronic format. There is no cost to get a DOT number. There's a cost for getting operating authority which most people get at the same time that they get their DOT number. That's why people get confused and think that a DOT number costs money or believe that getting authority takes no time. Obtaining operating authority takes 3-8 weeks. The Unified Registration System being a newer system is ensuring that it is fully functional before associating any cost with this process. However, it is important to note that the FMCSA does require additional registrations for most carriers including an Operating Authority or MC number that has costs starting at $300.
Thurcorp - DOT Insurance
What Information Is Needed?

There is more required than just the application that will need to be submitted in order to obtain a DOT number. Before the FMCSA will consider issuing a DOT number, the carrier must have proper insurance in place and insurance must submit a filing to FMCSA. At a minimum, all motor carriers must hold public liability insurance. There are also certain minimums this insurance must cover in order for the carrier to be able to register with the FMCSA. Some of these minimums will depend on the goods the carrier is transporting. A carrier may be required to carry up to $5,000,000 in property damage, bodily injury, and environmental restoration if the material they are transporting is higher risk. If the company's proof of proper insurance and any other required forms are not filed with the FMCSA within 90 days of the registration for operating authority, the request for operating authority will be dismissed. Note that if this is the case, the DOT number will still remain active. All required information must be filed directly with the FMCSA.

To be eligible for a DOT number, each motor carrier will need to ensure that they are adhering to their home state's registration requirements. A company's home state will be the state in which their primary work reporting offices are located. Some state requirements may vary greatly from the federal requirements designated by the FMCSA. Most states have adopted fully the FMCSA regulations. You can usually find the state regulations online. We recommend caution when researching how state regulations work. You could misread something and find yourself in a mess.
Thurcorp - DOT Filing
What Does The Application Process Entail?

One of the first steps in obtaining a DOT number will be compiling all of the necessary information needed for the application. The first piece of information required will be either the Employer Identification Number (EIN) or the applicant's social security number. The application will also ask for an employer's DUN and Bradstreet number. If you don’t have a DUNS number and don’t know what it is, don’t worry about it. If you do, you can enter it. A DUNS number is a report of the company's credit (it is not necessary to deal in any way with FMCSA). The EIN, social security number, and DUN and Bradstreet number are all simply means of identification of the company submitting the DOT application. The application will also ask for a list of the company's officers and the titles which they hold. If the company is structured under a "sole proprietor," the applicant will simply list the owner's name and title.

While the DOT application only takes about an hour to complete, the process may be hindered if the applicant does not have all of the information needed on hand. It is advisable to gather all information before beginning the application or to, at the very least, complete the application in a location where company information would be easily accessible. Other information that the application will ask for is general contact information such as address and phone numbers of the applicant. An applicant will also need the contact information of the company included but not limited to their main address, the name of the company, company fax number, and their primary phone number. If applicable, the application will need to include the mileage for all of the motor carrier's operation for the prior calendar year.

The applicant will need to know and note the company's operation classification. This classification is based on the type of business the company is classified as and the purpose their vehicles will execute. The application and FMCSA website includes tools to help determine the company's operation classification, though it is more efficient to know this information beforehand. An operation classification aids the FMCSA in determining the specific requirements and regulations the company will need to adhere to for their DOT number qualification and other guidelines or licensing. Along these same lines, the DOT number application will require the input of the company's cargo classification. This classification simply notes what kind of cargo the carrier will be transporting. There will need to be additional forms and registrations required if a carrier is hauling hazardous materials. There are also additional forms and licensing required for companies who conduct business in or are based in Mexico. These additional forms and licensing information will be noted on the FMCSA website and throughout the DOT number application.
Thurcorp - DOT Credit
What Aspects Make The Process Difficult?

The DOT number application will not be complete and will not be accepted if all information is not completed or truthfully recorded. If the applicant has ever been granted a DOT number in the past that has been revoked, they must disclose this on the new application. In the event that this revocation is not disclosed, this may be cause for the automatic denial of the new DOT number application. The DOT number application will need to be signed and dated, which may only be carried out by an authorized individual within the company. This authorized individual may include the business owner, a partner in the business, a designated corporation official, or someone who holds power of attorney for the business. Before the application for operating authority can be submitted, the person who has signed the application will need to input credit card information into the application system.

When Will I Get My DOT Number?

Once the application has been submitted and approved, a DOT number will be issued immediately. However, if the FMCSA finds any information is missing or not submitted, the DOT number can be suspended at any time. The DOT number should be written down and recorded within company records until the paperwork arrives in the mail directly from the FMCSA. The DOT number is valid and active as soon as it has been issued, even if this is before the official paperwork has arrived in the mail. A company may use the recorded number in the event any officials needs a record of their active DOT number.

Renewal of DOT numbers typically occurs once every two years. The FMCSA requires that any company under their jurisdiction update their information at least every two years to ensure that they have the correct information needed in order to carry out inspections and keep track of commercial transportation. Each company must also update their DOT application in the event that the company changes its name and/or address. To update their DOT number, a company will need to have either their EIN or SSN. They will also need a PIN issued to them by the FMCSA. If a company fails to update their information at the two-year mark, the company may be subject to fines as well as the deactivation of their DOT number. The fines can range from $1,000 a day up to $10,000. Each company may update their information online through the FMCSA website or by mail. There is no cost for a company to update their information.
Thucorp - DOT Trucker
Is There Someone Who Can Do This For Me?

The entire DOT number application is fairly complex and will require the gathering of necessary information. It is vital that all information be completed in a timely manner and with due diligence. If any information is missing or unknown, the applicant may need to wait to finish the application until they have been able to compile the information. If the applicant fails to do so and submits an incomplete application, the application will be dismissed as incomplete. Obtaining a DOT number is vital in order to maintain legal registration with the FMCSA and to avoid any hefty fines or violations. The FMCSA works with carriers in order to keep the roadways and those who drive them in commercial vehicles as safe as possible. The DOT number ensures that ongoing inspections occur and assurance is provided that each motor carrier is adhering to state and federal regulations.

Many trucking regulation companies will charge you ridiculous amounts to order your DOT number for you. They'll hide the fact that getting your DOT number is free. Thurcorp will streamline the process and make it seem easy. With Thurcorp, you'll be able to see exactly what your money is being spent on and understand where you are at each step of the process. Essentially, you'll get more help at a much lower cost while being completely informed of the process. Take the burden of obtaining a DOT number off of your shoulders will Thurcorp to navigate the complexities of the process for you.
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