Some may find themselves asking the question, “What is a USDOT number and do I need one?”

To answer the first part of the question, we can break down what a USDOT number is and what it is used for. The USDOT number is required for companies who operate commercial vehicles that are either transferring cargo, hazardous materials or a certain amount of passengers. The USDOT number acts as an identifier between vehicles on the road. This number is very useful when monitoring  and checking a company’s safety information, which would include compliance reviews, crash investigations and inspections that have been performed on the vehicle.

Now you may be wondering if your vehicle needs a USDOT number. The requirements for a USDOT number are mandatory if…

  • Your vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials that require a safety permit in intrastate commerce
  • Your vehicle has a gross weight rating of 10,001 pounds or over
  • Your vehicle is used to transport more than 8 passengers for compensation or more than 15 passengers with no compensation

Also, if your vehicle is involved with Interstate commerce, a USDOT is mandatory. This would include:

  • Vehicles traveling between a location within a state and outside of the state
  • Vehicles traveling between two locations in a state through another state
  • Vehicles traveling between two locations in a state as part of a trade, traffic or transportation starting and ending outside the state

Aside from federal regulations, some states do require their intrastate commercial motor vehicles to acquire a USDOT number which does include Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

If you have learned that you do in fact need a USDOT number there are two ways to apply for one: either apply online ( or fill out a hand written application and send it in the mail.