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:

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


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