If you’re an owner-operator wanting to start your own trucking company and operate in interstate commerce, there are two crucial numbers you must have. These are your U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number and your Motor Carrier (MC) number.
The USDOT number identifies carriers operating in interstate commerce, that is, across state lines. This number is used by the government to monitor safety compliance and to conduct official audits, reviews, and accident investigations. In addition to the USDOT number, the MC number identifies carriers operating across state lines that transport passengers or regulated commodities.
Generally, the term “regulated commodities” refers to products that have been changed from their natural state into a product. For example, a cargo of raw peanuts would be considered unregulated, as the peanuts are in their natural state. A cargo of peanut butter, on the other hand, would be considered a regulated commodity. The peanuts are no longer in their original, natural state.
In this article we’ll focus on the MC number using information from the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The Types of Motor Carrier Authority
Stated simply, your MC number is determined by your MC Authority, that is by what you will be transporting across state lines. And there are four basic types of MC Authority:
- Motor carrier of property, with the exception of household goods – A for-hire Motor Carrier transporting regulated commodities – except household goods – must have an MC number and must also file proof of insurance for bodily injury and property damage.
- Motor carrier of household goods, in other words, moving companies – A for-hire motor carrier that transports only household goods must have an MC number. You are also required to file proof of public liability and cargo insurance.
- Motor passenger carrier authority – Obviously, this type of MC number is for those Motor Carriers whose primary function is transporting passengers across state lines.
- Mexico-based carrier – These Motor Carriers receive an MX (as opposed to an MC) number allowing them to operate across the U.S.-Mexican border.
The brokers who arrange business for these companies must also have an MC or MX number.
It may surprise you to know that there are exemptions to the MC number requirement. The exemptions include:
- Private carriers hauling only their own cargo.
- For-hire carriers hauling only exempt cargo.
- Carriers operating in a federal “commercial zone” that lies outside interstate regulatory rules.
Proceed with Caution
You can apply for both the USDOT and MC numbers on the FMCSA website. The application process is fairly straightforward, but we urge you to proceed carefully. The FMCSA provides no refunds for mistaken applications, so make sure all your information is correct and in order. That way you can avoid having to reapply and pay the application fee a second time. Also remember that if you operate without the proper licenses, you may incur huge penalties.
We hope you’ve found this information helpful. We also hope if you’re a driver for hire looking for work or a carrier looking for drivers, you’ll let us assist you. Our specialties are finding work for drivers and drivers for carriers. Either way, contact US Trucking Service today!