Differences Between an MC Number and a DOT Number

Those working in the trucking industry need to meet certain requirements that the FMCSA imposes on trucking companies before setting out on the road. Depending on the type of activity being performed, the requirements may vary. These activities include transporting cargo or passengers, transporting dangerous goods, or performing private work as a carrier. These requirements include obtaining MC and USDOT plates. Many people have questions about why they are required, what the difference is between them, and whether it is necessary to obtain both numbers or if one is sufficient. The most common questions will be covered in this article. The difference in these numbers primarily relates to the type of transportation (intrastate or interstate transportation).

USDOT Number

Let’s start with the USDOT number that is assigned to the trucking industry. This number is also called a Department of Transportation (DOT) number, which is assigned by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). A DOT number is assigned to all commercial vehicles that weigh more than a specified amount or are used to transport a certain number of passengers in excess of a specified amount for a fee. And, a DOT number is issued for transportation over any distance (within a particular state or when crossing one or more state lines).

MS Number

After reviewing the meaning of the DOT number for the trucking company, you should turn your attention to the MC number. The MC (Motor Carrier) number is a unique combination of numbers that FMCSA assigns to commercial vehicles if they are transporting freight within the state and across state lines.

Learn more about the difference between MC and DOT

In each case, you need to have a clear understanding of which number you need to get from the FMCSA. There are situations where you need to get both numbers. Next, we will focus on the main differences between these numbers. As mentioned above, the differences are related to geography of shipments, i.e. whether shipments are within one state or whether shipments go beyond one state. In the United States, a USDOT number must be obtained when shipments are made. If a company operates within the boundaries of one state, having a DOT solves all problems. Obtaining an MC number is required only if the vehicle is transporting across the borders of one or more states. When transporting freight from one state to another, an MC number must be obtained.

Information on obtaining the required number

The specifics and necessity of obtaining the numbers listed above depend on the line of business of the transportation company and the required credentials. Such details can be found on websites like SAFER. This depends in particular on the total weight of the vehicle used for transportation, as well as the type of transportation (trucking or passenger transportation). For interstate shipments, special extended authorizations are required.

For all the information you need, visit the motor carrier’s website at fmcsa.dot.gov. You can also get the information you need from your insurance company, which has the information you need to properly insure your freight in transportation.

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