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3 Reasons to Apply for a DOT Number & DOT Compliance Services
Mariah Barr
6 mins read

Filing a DOT number application gets you on track toward meeting DOT recordkeeping requirements.

At first glance, understanding and dealing with DOT regulations and DOT recordkeeping requirements seems complicated. Fortunately, Foley is here to help at every turn, including navigating DOT compliance services. If you’re just starting a trucking company, this path starts with filing a DOT number application.

What is a USDOT (or DOT) number?

A DOT number is an identification number that allows the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to monitor a company’s safety record and other information acquired during inspections and audits.

Any company that operates interstate commercial vehicles that transport either passengers or cargo, as well as all hazardous materials carriers with cargo that require a safety permit, need to not only be registered with the FMCSA but also have a USDOT number.

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Sound complicated? Don’t worry, that’s not surprising – it can all be daunting at first. But if you do need a DOT number, it’s important that you have one. Here are three reasons you should have and know your DOT number:

  1. It’s the law
  2. It keeps our roadways safe
  3. It legitimizes your business

Let’s dig into each of these reasons so you can see all the benefits of filing a DOT number application.

Having a DOT number is the law

If you’re in the trucking industry, how do you know if you need a DOT number?

If you’re involved in interstate commerce, and meet at least one of the following qualifications:

  • A gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight of 10,001 lbs or more
  • If your vehicle is designed or used to carry more than eight passengers, including the driver, for compensation
  • If your vehicle is designed or used to carry more than 15 passengers, including the driver, regardless of compensation
  • If your vehicle is used to transport material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous

Then, according to federal law, you are required to have a DOT number. Aside from these federal regulations, many US states require you to have one anyway. The FMCSA has a list of all the states requiring DOT numbers you can check.

Having a DOT number helps protect the safety of our roadways

While it may not seem like it right away, having a USDOT number helps ensure the safety of you and your drivers. The DOT number helps monitor a company’s safety record, as well as other things like crash investigations, compliance reviews, and drug and alcohol testing. While DOT compliance may feel restrictive at first, it keeps you and other drivers on the road safe.

Your DOT number is also used to look up your safety and performance data in the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS), which allows you to see roadside inspection results, crash data, and Inspection Selection System status. Based on this information, you can see how likely it is for your business to face a safety investigation in the near future.

You’ve heard it before, and this is especially true regarding your business: knowledge is power. The more you know about your current safety ratings, the better prepared you can be for investigations and audits. Plus, safer companies who use DOT compliance services tend to get more business and be more successful than those who throw caution to the wind.

Having a DOT number legitimizes your business

By having a USDOT number, your customers, other companies, and other drivers recognize you are trustworthy and make safety a priority.

Just as you would check on the legitimacy of a company you’re paying to complete a service, your customers want to know they can depend on you to get their freight where it needs to go in a safe and timely manner. Your DOT number gives them that peace of mind.

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How long does it take to get a USDOT number?

Although the process of applying for a DOT number can be confusing and time-consuming for those who are unfamiliar with the process, there are DOT compliance services available to help, like Foley’s!

With our DOT filing service, a quick phone call is all that’s needed to fill out the DOT number application and submit it to the Department of Transportation. Because we submit applications electronically, you’ll receive your DOT number almost immediately.

Navigating DOT compliance isn’t always easy, but at Foley, our goal is to help you get on the right track and stay there. Even after you’ve successfully filed for a DOT number, we can help you meet (or even exceed) DOT record-keeping requirements through our DOT compliance services.

But before we get to that, trust our compliance experts at Foley to submit your DOT number application on your behalf to ensure your federal registration is completed correctly. After that, you can get on the road to running a successful business!

Click here to get started with your USDOT number application, or give us a call at (800) 253-5506.

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