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Usdot numbers - do you need one?

Mathew Johnson

New member
The question I pose is this... Do you need a USDOT Number on your vehicles?

The answer is this... I think???

Chances are most contractors in our industry actually are required to be registered and display the numbers.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration requires that any vehicle that has a GVW of more than 10,000 pounds be registered and display the USDOT numbers. What does this mean?

If you are driving a vehicle and pulling a trailer, if the combined GVRW (gross vehicle registration weight) of the vehicle and trailer exceeds 10000 pounds, the numbers are required.

The irony of it is this... If you have even a 1/2 ton pickup pulling a dual axle trailer (GVW 7000 pounds) you exceed the 10,000 pound weight.

What does it mean for our daily operating procedures? It doesn't cost anything to register, you don't need a CDL (under 26000 GVW), you have to have a fire extinguiser and road warning triangles, but most importantly, you are required to stop at the DOT Checkpoints and weigh stations.

I got this info from a pretty reliable source. If anyone has any other insight and facts it would be appreciated.
 

Doug Tripp

New member
Matt,

Federal rules apply IF you are doing INTERstate travelling. Some states, NY included, also require the DOT number with the state abbreviation for INTRAstate business.. Last I checked there were 13 states that had the rules.

The problem as I see it...once you get the number, and I have mine, then you are subject to the Fed DOT audit. And you need all the paper work/policies that the over the road trucking companies have, i.e. Drug policy, driver review policy, etc., etc., ad nausem

Beside the fire ex and triangles, you also need a medical card, properly lettered vehicle, annual inspections on both truck and trailer. You will also need driver logs, depending on your situation. Cannot think of the proper name right now, but you will need to pay a fee for a CFR (?)
 

ROBERT SCHMIDT

New member
MATT I'M IN NY YOU NEED THEM FOR A TRUCK & TRAILER 10,000 LBS OR MORE OR A TRUCK WHICH IS REG W A GVW OF 10,000 OR MORE . CALL ME I CAN GIVE YOU THE DETAILS:clap:
 

Tony Shelton

Environmental Consultant / Past Director
It's 26,001 here for intrastate.

Maybe I should push to get it lowered to 10,000 like other other smarter states eliminate hackers.

What a small price to pay to prove I'm serious about my business. :biggrin:
 

Ken Fenner

Fuckhead
Written by Scott Millen (Stainless Deal)



When I first came to the pressure washing industry, I was leaving over twenty years as a commercial driver. I was thinking how nice it would be to be free of all those motor carrier regulations that had been such a grinding part of my career.
I could not have been more wrong. Not long after starting, I was doing a residential cleaning for a law enforcement officer. As I was rolling hose after finishing, he asked me how much my truck and trailer weighed.
"I don't know, I licensed for extra tonnage so I would not be overweight," was my easy answer. I was absurdly proud of having taken the time and made the effort not to cheat on my licensing and expected weight limits.
"Where is your DOT number?" was his next easy question.
I, like so many other pressure washing service providers in my area, had not even given a thought to this basic requirement for operating commercial vehicles. After a $100 fine, I made sure to rectify the situation.



I got my DOT number.


Trying to decide whether or not you require a DOT number can be a difficult question, and there are some state specific requirements of which to be aware, but my customer said it is pretty basic, "If you have a truck or trailer with company signs, and/or a trailer with more than one axle, I will be writing you a ticket if you do not have a USDOT number."
The actual requirements can be found on the United States Department of Transportation website. There is a large body of information there, and resources to help understand it all. There is even an online questionnaire to assist you as you try to determine whether or not you are required to have the DOT number in the first place.


The requirements are pretty basic, and are as follows. You need a USDOT number if you:


• Operate vehicles that are over 10,000 lbs,
• Transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation,
• Transport 16 or more passengers, or
• Haul hazardous materials in interstate commerce.


You should be aware that once you have a USDOT number, there are some record-keeping requirements that go along with it. For instance, if you carry hazmat, such as sodium hypochlorite in large amounts, or flammable liquids like your machine's fuel and a spare fuel tank or two, you will need to note that. You will also have to register as a HAZMAT carrier and maintain records of materials and amounts carried. You will have to implement a safety program and a driver qualification record, as well as records of your driver's hours of service records.
This sounds like a great deal of red tape, but it is what is required to be a legitimate pressure washing business that operates machinery that falls under the Department of Transportation's regulated guidelines. It is a cost of doing business, and needs to be part of your business plan. It is helpful to remember that these records are relatively simple, and can be based on records you already keep.


In my experience, motor carrier safety regulations are open to various interpretations, so it is probably a good idea to check with your state DOT as well as with the local Carrier Enforcement department in your state. They are supposed to have the current information necessary to assist you in remaining compliant. The USDOT site has links to all the state DOT sites.
Again, the information can be contradictory, so find the most knowledgeable people you can, the fines ramp up steeply from my paltry hundred dollars. Don't bet the company on the word of some functionary, ask the questions you need to, in order to get the clearest answers possible.
 

Mathew Johnson

New member
I asked about the medical card and such... If you have a CDL it is required. For intrastate carriers, there is less requirements than for those who do interstate trucking.


8.
Are CMV drivers who operate in interstate commerce required to have a medical certificate? 129
Drivers are required to have a DOT Medical Certificate:
If they operate a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), gross combination weight rating (GCWR), gross vehicle weight (GCW), or gross combination weight (GCW) of 4,536 kilograms or more in interstate commerce.
If they operate a motor vehicle designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) in interstate commerce.
If they operate a motor vehicle designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers, for direct compensation, beyond 75 air miles from the driver's normal work-reporting location, in interstate commerce
If they transport hazardous materials, in a quantity requiring placards, in interstate commerce.


Here is the story behind this:

For 5 years I have been traveling the local interstate and have been driving by the DOT checkpoints. Yesterday, as I was driving by, the Trooper turned on his lights and pointed to me. I pulled over just past the rest area and he paid me a visit. He was pretty cool and he took the time to explain the regs and why I was required to have the numbers. He also gave me the information on who to call to help get the numbers and answer my questions. I called the FMCSA rep when I got back to the office and he stepped me through the process on the web and I had the number in 10 minutes.

I got a notice of three violations that I had to correct in 15 days, sign the report and mail it back to the state when the items were corrected. He didnt write me for any tickets (although he coud have written several), some big $$$ ones as well - operating as a motor carrier unregistered - for one, including impounding my vehicle if he wanted to.

I was upfront with the Trooper and I told him that I was unaware that I needed the USDOT# and would get them.

He also told me that there is a national initiative by FDOT and local law enforcement for compliance.

I just think it is easier to play by there rules than dodge them,

I hope this helps everyone to avoid a similar scenario.
 

Carlos Gonzales

New member
Great information Matt and I am going to dig deeper on this subject relating to the requirements!!

Thank you for sharing this. This could be a good topic at the convention!!!
 

Indy Power Wash

New member
It's a GVWR total of 10,000 or more here you need a DOT number. That's if the combined truck and trailer are capable of hauling 10K total with load, not what you are actually hauling.

Don't know if it's related to this but I've seen more big trucks stopped on the interstate highways here in the past 2 weeks than in the past 2 years. The feds must be funding it.
 

Paul Kassander

UAMCC Associate Member
Had a similar experience to Matt, plus a cop that pulled us over every 2 weeks for 3 months to do one inspection or another. No tickets but a pita just the same.

The federal guidelines are a DOT # for 10k or more whether it is interstate or intrastate commerce even if it is a personal vehicle. If it is a company vehicle it must have a visible name on it and the city and state shown as well.
 

Tony Shelton

Environmental Consultant / Past Director
After reading all this I was curious as to why we hadn't heard of any of our commercial customers getting DOT numbers for their new vehicles. (My wife has owned a DMV service for 10 years and in that time has registered more than 30,000 vehicles here in Nevada, about 25% of them are commercial)

I asked my wife quickly about DOT numbers and she simply said, "you don't need them here".

So, just out of curiosity we put a call into the Nevada Motor Carriers and into three of our commercial truck sales departments we work with.

Here's what we got almost Verbatim:

You are only required to get a DOT number if you are transporting passengers or Cargo in the state of NV.

At the Ford Dealership we were told that any truck under an F650 regardless of what it is towing (unless cargo for hire) is UNDER the 10k mark and is exempt.

In the state of Nevada you don't even need a CDL OR commercial license plates unless you actually WEIGH over 26,000 total on the road.

A call to the Nevada Highway patrol resulted in:
"Is it a pickup" YES,
"Is your total weight less than 26k?" YES.
"Then don't worry about it, you're not going to have any trouble unless we pull you over and you weigh over 26k total."

They wouldn't answer my question as to if that applied to California as well.

Ahhhh, the freedom of a loosely regulated state.
 

Rob Huffman

New member
I am doing a little more research to see what I find in between states...but here is what I got. I bought an F550 with weight around 7k. Guys please pay attention to this part. I have a 500 gallon water tank on the flatbed part of this. The state police and anyone else DO NOT CARE what your empty weight is...if they read 500 on the side of your tank thats another 4k...Anything over 10k you NEED a DOT number. The next step will be anything over the 26K mark which would require a CDL. Also if you have a combined weight (truck and Trailer---with water tanks) that is over 10k you will be required. When I applied for my DOT number the big question was if I went into another state...Doesnt matter which one. That made the change from Inter to Intrastate if I remember correctly.
Its not a big deal to get the numbers and be safe about it. Also if you carry more than 55 gallons of any chemicals you are required to get a hazmat license and stickers are required.
Please be careful as from what I was told they can do pretty much anything they want from a warning to a fine to pulling your truck off the road until all is taken care of. Its easier to comply.
 

Jim Chesmore

New member
I went to the NJDOT and got confused?? I called them and left a message yesterday but still no reply.

So under 10K I can run business as usual?

Over 10K I need a DOT#, but what does that mean?

You mentioned over 55gal chem you will need stickers, I remember reading that it was 1000#'s of material in bulk containers. Non-bulk containers had a higher limit on the weight.
 

Rob Huffman

New member
Los,
I will look that up today...


Jim,
What I was told was that 55 gallons of any chems would need a hazmat license and depending on materials stickers would be required. The form to fill out is not very easy to figure out so I talked to a rep and had them walk me thru it online. If your trailer (with full tank) and truck weight less than 10k you are ok. Anything more than the 10k you will need to apply (you can do this online) and they will send you an email with your #'s. Get the book so you can comply with all other regulations...you will also need to get a medical exam card. From what they told me (the person that called me back was actually from Virginia) these regulations and #'s are required for ALL highways and in ALL states.
I am not 100% if thats true after reading what everyone else has been told so I am looking at it online now. And again this is what I was told...I will try to update this when I get more info....
 

Paul Kassander

UAMCC Associate Member
You only need hazmat cert or placards if you are hauling a hazmat qualified chemical in certain quantities. There are specific guidelines out there based on reportable quantities and labeling requirements based on wt and volume of the particular product. Some you only need a few gallons some are a few hundred pounds before the rules take effect.
 

Indy Power Wash

New member
It is very confusing. The feds have one set of rules that can be superseded by state, that can have additional city and county rules. I can call three different police departments and get three different answers.

The only thing I get a consistent answer on is if your vehicle can legally carry over 10,000 lbs, truck, trailer and potential load combined it needs a DOT number. No matter what you a haul if it can haul over 10K total. There are some exceptions such as motor homes and farm vehicles. But that may be a state exemption since we are a farming state.

The enforcement division here that's supposed to have the answers is a civilian employee department of the Indiana State Police called Motor Carrier Enforcement. I've called them and left messages and never had a call returned. They create more revenue giving you a ticket than answering questions so can comply.
 

Tony Shelton

Environmental Consultant / Past Director
I am doing a little more research to see what I find in between states...but here is what I got. I bought an F550 with weight around 7k. Guys please pay attention to this part. I have a 500 gallon water tank on the flatbed part of this. The state police and anyone else DO NOT CARE what your empty weight is...if they read 500 on the side of your tank thats another 4k...Anything over 10k you NEED a DOT number. The next step will be anything over the 26K mark which would require a CDL. Also if you have a combined weight (truck and Trailer---with water tanks) that is over 10k you will be required. When I applied for my DOT number the big question was if I went into another state...Doesnt matter which one. That made the change from Inter to Intrastate if I remember correctly.
Its not a big deal to get the numbers and be safe about it. Also if you carry more than 55 gallons of any chemicals you are required to get a hazmat license and stickers are required.
Please be careful as from what I was told they can do pretty much anything they want from a warning to a fine to pulling your truck off the road until all is taken care of. Its easier to comply.
Have you weighed the F550? I've got a regular bed (not a flatbed) but my F450 weighs in at over 9000 lbs empty and closer to 14k w/ 325 gallon tank and PW.
 
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