Just The FAQs

Just the facts . . .

Just the Facts . . .

The U.S. DOT is very concerned about bridge strikes (topping a trailer, van box or load) and use (or  improper use) of Global Positioning Systems (GPS). At least these topics are the first things listed under “Carrier & Vehicle Safety” on the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) FAQs page.

“The Agency views bridge strikes as a serious safety hazard resulting in injury and loss of life, damage to infrastructure, interruption of commerce, and delays in travel times.”

Their solution: drivers need to increase awareness of route selection by paying attention to signs and using only proper GPS systems, designed for trucks and buses. And by the way, The DOT reminds us that the maximum penalty for failing to comply with a posted route restriction, such as a sign along a roadway, is $11,000 for a company and/or $2,750 for a driver, and, of course, a bad CSA score.

But they are doing their part, too:

  • The FMCSA will work with its State and local partners to ensure they understand their enforcement authority against motor carriers and drivers that fail to abide by roadway signs.

They have a GPS brochure for drivers (opens in .pdf file).

The DOT admits it does not know if topping a trailer or load on a bridge or overpass due to improper GPS is really a problem.

FMCSA’s information systems do not have crash statistics associated with the use of electronic navigation systems. However, even one truck or bus striking an overpass is one too many . . .

The DOT’s FMCSA FAQs page looks like this:


Thank you for reading this.


Register 3 dba’s Separately With the DOT?

US DOT Number

US DOT Registration / Truck Marking Rule

Does an owner (with a parent company and 3 subsidiaries), have to register 3 dba’s separately? Is that parent company supposed to register as a parent with a dba separately for each dba? And do I need distinct MC and DOT numbers for each different dba?

The purpose of the USDOT Number is to track the safety of an organization. As such, there is no need for separate DOT numbers — unless the owners are not the same.

Motor carrier (MC) numbers are no longer required to be displayed. Older trucks may run with MC numbers displayed, so from time to time you might see them.

An MC Number is assigned by FMCSA to interstate for-hire carriers who apply for operating authority. The MC Number may be obtained from FMCSA for a fee and you can apply online for this at its website: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov

Truck Marking Rules – 49 CFR Part 390.21

Regarding the truck “Marking Rule,” DOT says:

Display the legal company name (as shown on the registration form MCS-150 “Motor Carrier Identification Report”) for all regulated vehicles (*GVWR/GCWR, GVW/GCW of 10,001 pounds or more).

To display another company name/dba on the vehicle, show the name and US DOT number of the company operating the vehicle, preceded by the words “operated by,” in the following manner:

DBA Company

Operated by:
Parent Company
USDOT 012345678

Again, the concept of having a single US DOT Number displayed is to avoid confusion when determining legal responsibility when interacting with motor carrier field enforcement officials.

Check your state’s requirements for intrastate marking rules. The rules may vary by state.


FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (an agency of the US DOT)

*GVWR – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

GCWR – Gross Combination Weight Rating (power unit + a trailer)

GVW – Gross Weight Rating

GCW – Gross Combination Weight

Usually GVWR can be found on the vehicle door jam, or sometimes on the glove box door or in the Owner’s Manual. The weight rating is assigned by the manufacturer.

US DOT – United States Department of Transportation


Biennial Update: MCS-150 Registration Renewal

Biennial Update Notice

On October 2, 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) — an agency of the United States Department of Transportation — distributed an email message to motor carriers encouraging them to update their registration, including the following:

“Failure to complete a Biennial Update may result in deactivation of your USDOT number and civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day, not to exceed $10,000.”

What is the DOT “registration?”

Registration refers to the process of obtaining (and maintaining) a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number (the number on both sides of most trucks and buses in North America).  The purpose of the USDOT number is to mark and track trucks for safety. The requirements for DOT registration are found in 49 CFR 390.19

After the initial DOT registration, a motor carrier needs to update the registration information every two years.

Note: If there is a change in your fleet in the number of power units — tractors or straight trucks — before the two year period, then the motor carrier should update the information immediately. Don’t wait for the statutory two-year period. The number of power units affects your CSA scores, so keep it current.

Some states may require annual registration renewal at the time of license plate renewal.

How is the registration updated?

The recommended way is online. Alternatively, paper forms may be sent to:

Mail Forms to:
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Attention: Office of Registration and Safety Information
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20590

If you renew online, you will need your personal identification number (PIN) and you may need a credit card — for identification purposes (there is no charge or fee for a DOT number or to renew/update a DOT number).

Carriers need to complete the Motor Carrier Identification Report (Federal Form MCS-150) or, if a hazardous materials (hazmat) carrier, the Combined Identification and Hazardous Materials Safety Permit Application (Federal Form MCS-150B).

After a carrier begins operations it needs to update at least every 24 months, according to the following due-date schedule:

If your USDOT number ends in:   You need to file by last day of:

1                              January
2                             February
3                             March
4                             April
5                             May
6                             June
7                             July
8                             August
9                             September
0                             October


If the next-to-last digit of its USDOT Number is odd, the motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider shall file its update in every odd-numbered calendar year.


If the next-to-last digit of the USDOT Number is even, the motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider shall file its update in every even-numbered calendar year.


Always be sure to update according to the above due-date schedule.

Intermodal Equipment Providers (IEPs)

Intermodal Equipment Providers are unable to update online at this time and need to mail in the Intermodal Equipment Provider Identification Report form (Federal Form MCS-150C). Be sure to go online and double-check your information for accuracy in about four to six weeks.

Registration Pitfalls, Traps and Minefields

(1) If you mail in the form(s):

Important note for hard copy registrations: Forms must be received by FMCSA on or before the date your Biennial Update is due to avoid deactivation of your USDOT number and the assessment of civil penalties. Please allow ample time for mailing.

(2) Always update any operational changes:

  • In the number of active power units;
  • In carrier status: interstate to intrastate or the reverse;
  • In business/operations status: if no longer in business, file a final report.

(3) Always file even if no changes have occurred, but within the provisions and requirements of the due-date chart above.

How can I check my registration date status?

You can follow these easy steps to check your Official US DOT number to see if you need to update your Biennial Report:

If the MCS-150 Form Date is more than two years old, you should immediately update your information. Do not expect any further notice from the DOT.

The renewal process should not take more than 30 minutes, if all of the information is available. When done, a printable confirmation page will indicate that the update has been made. It is a best practice to keep a copy of any confirmations for your records.

November 1, 2013 was the compliance date for the biennial update requirements.

Are you in compliance?

CSA Effects

As the total number of power units and/or mileage are used in the CSA enforcement program, accurate information is necessary for precise calculations of your CSA scores. Inaccurate or stale data may impact your CSA Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) in a negative manner.


Renew and update your US DOT registration in a timely manner. Be aware of the changes that require an immediate update. Always be sure to update according to the above due-date schedule.


Visit the part380.com website here.