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What is a DOT Number?


If you’re new to the auto transport industry, you’ll encounter lots of terms you don’t understand. In this post, we’ll help you make sense of one that’s used in many different transportation industries, not just auto transport. 

What is a DOT number?

It’s something you should ask for when dealing with an auto transport company, but what does it mean?

DOT stands for Department of Transportation, a government department that manages logistics in the United States by regulating traffic, waterways, railroads, waterways, and transportation channels. 

A DOT number is issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to registered commercial vehicles.

It is a 12-digit alphanumeric code that identifies a vehicle. It was created in 1963 to identify commercial vehicles.

All carrier vehicles weighing over a certain amount, which carry specific amounts of paying passengers or operate between state lines require this especially important number.

When is a USDOT number required?

A USDOT number is required for vehicles that:

  • Are used to transport the types and quantities of hazardous materials requiring a safety permit in intrastate commerce
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg or more
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation. 

It is also required for vehicles involved in interstate commerce, trade, traffic, or transportation in the United States.   

What is a DOT number used for?

A DOT number is a unique identifier assigned to certain types of commercial businesses by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA. 

DOT numbers are used to help manage important safety information required under specific circumstances. There are several scenarios that a DOT number would be required, for example:

  • Safety inspections
  • Safety compliance reviews
  • Safety information collection
  • Accident or crash investigations

The purpose of the mandates and guidelines linked to the USDOT ensure all applicable companies comply and adhere to commercial highway regulations. 

The purpose of a DOT number is to ensure the safety of people and property being transported across the US interstate.  

What are the benefits of having a DOT number?

For a commercial vehicle owner, the benefits of having a DOT number include:

  • Access to interstate highways: A DOT number is required to operate on interstate highways. Without it, you would be limited to state and local roads.
  • Reduced insurance rates: Insurance companies often offer lower rates to commercial motor vehicle operators with a DOT number.
  • Compliance with federal regulations: Having a DOT number ensures you comply with all federal regulations for commercial vehicle operation.
  • Safety monitoring: The DOT number is used to monitor a company’s safety record, including crash investigations, compliance reviews, and drug and alcohol testing. 

What are the benefits for the customer?

There are many benefits for the customer who chooses to work with an auto transport company with a US DOT number. 

Regulatory compliance

A DOT number ensures a company is complying with federal regulations. This is crucial for commercial vehicles engaged in interstate commerce or activities that impact interstate commerce. It demonstrates a commitment to adhering to industry-specific safety standards and regulations, making it easier to cross state lines without any problems or fines. 

Enhanced safety

A DOT number is associated with safety-related metrics such as crash history, inspection results, and compliance with state and federal regulations. Continuous monitoring of safety reports can lead to safer operations and reduced chances of dangerous incidents, or violations. 

Increased credibility and trust

If an auto transport company has a DOT number, it conveys a message that it is following all state regulations. It serves as proof that the company and its drivers are committed to operating legally and safely within government-mandated parameters.

What is the difference between DOT and MC?

The DOT number and the MC number are both important identifiers in the trucking industry. 

The DOT number, also known as a USDOT number or an FMCSA DOT number, is assigned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and is used for identification purposes. The number must be displayed on a truck’s cab. 

The MC number, which stands for Motor Carrier number, is needed for the transportation of regulated items across state lines. 

What is DOT certification?

DOT certification is a little like a DOT number, but it’s for the driver. DOT certification indicates that a driver is able and competent to operate a vehicle commercially in the United States. 

Almost all states require that any driver hired by a trucking company is DOT certified, regardless of whether the company operates semi-trucks or smaller delivery vehicles. If a driver holds a commercial driver’s license, it means they are DOT certified. 

The process for DOT certification involves a physical exam and some driving tests, all of which are overseen by the US Department of Transportation. The process also has to be repeated every couple of years.

Does SGT Auto Transport have a DOT number? 

SGT Auto Transport is a bonded company that’s authorized by the Federal Carrier Safety Administration under DOT number 2521690. Our MC number is MC-873392.

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If you’d like to know more about our car shipping services, reach out to our shipping advisors at (864) 546-5038. Alternatively, use our Live Chat option. 


How to get a DOT number?

To obtain a DOT number, you must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Applications can be made online via the FMCSA’s Unified Registration System.

Is there a fee for obtaining a US DOT number?

Yes, there is a fee associated with obtaining a US DOT number. The cost depends on the type of operation and authority needed. 

The DOT number itself is free, however, you may need to pay fees for other registrations or designations. These include UCR, MC, or expedited DOT.

Fees vary from $15 to $399, depending on the number and duration of the registrations or designations. 

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