US DOT Numbers & Operating Authority

What is a Commercial Vehicle (CMV)?

An INTERSTATE commercial motor vehicle is defined as any self-propelled or towed vehicle that:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
  • Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous and transported in a quantity requiring placarding.
  • Is driven on public roadways used in commerce (i.e. used in the furtherance of a business or organization)

View the definition of an INTRASTATE commercial motor vehicle.

What is a USDOT Number?

A USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) Number is a carrier identification number assigned to a business or an individual operating in commerce.

When is a USDOT Number necessary?

A USDOT Number is required where any vehicle or combination of vehicle units are operated in intrastate or interstate commerce and meet the definition of a commercial motor vehicle (see above).

How do I get a US DOT number?

Whether your company operates intrastate only (solely within Colorado boundaries)  or interstate commerce (traveling outside of Colorado), please continue to the FMCSA website and complete an application via their online system.

What does it mean to be "Interstate?" What does it mean to be "Intrastate?"

Interstate commercial motor carriers travel in states other than the one they are domiciled it and/or they cross state lines in the course of their business.

Intrastate carriers limit their operations to within the borders of one state.

How do I display a USDOT Number on my vehicle?

The USDOT Number should appear on both sides of the commercial vehicle with the company name. The USDOT Number should be legible from 50 feet away in daylight hours. (most companies go with a minimum of 2″ lettering). For intrastate carries within Colorado only – If a power unit of a towing combination is less than 16,0001 lbs. and you are operating commercially within the State of Colorado only, you can put this information on both sides of the towed unit.

Do I need to put the VIN number on my trucks?

In Colorado, there are two acceptable ways to mark your vehicles – click here for more info.

How often am I required to "renew" or update my company information?

Carriers having USDOT#s are required to review and “update” their company information at least once every 24 months/2 years (biennially). Carriers should also update their carrier USDOT# information any time there are changes to the information they have provided in their application or recent update, like a change of address, point of contact, number of drivers/vehicles, etc.

Do I have to file a "Biennial Update" if there have been no changes to my carrier information?

Yes. All carriers having a USDOT# must file a biennial update every two years, regardless. Failure to do so could interfere with the good standing of your USDOT#.

How can I make changes to my USDOT# record?

You can update your information online at You will need a PIN to update your information online. If you do not already have one, you can request one via the link on the safer website.

CMCA’s staff is well versed in trucking regulations and issues. For more info, contact CMCA.