The Department of Transportation requires USDOT numbers for businesses that transport passengers for a fee or haul cargo through or across state lines. So, if you fit any of the bullet points listed below, you need a USDOT number. Here’s when USDOT numbers are required and where to display them.

When USDOT Numbers Are Required and Where to Display Them

  • You carry hazardous materials
  • You haul more than 10,000 pounds of cargo
  • If you transport 15 or more paid passengers
  • Your business is interstate commerce
  • You deliver within a state but cross through another state during the delivery
  • You ship between two destinations in the same state, but the products originated outside of the state

What is a USDOT Number? 

when USDOT numbers are required and where to display them.

“Companies that operate commercial vehicles transporting passengers or hauling cargo in interstate commerce must be registered with the FMCSA and must have a USDOT Number. Also, commercial intrastate hazardous materials carriers who haul types and quantities requiring a safety permit must register for a USDOT Number.

The USDOT Number serves as a unique identifier when collecting and monitoring a company’s safety information acquired during audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and inspections.” — Do I need a USDOT Number?

Where Should a USDOT Number Be Displayed?

  • Your USDOT number is required to be displayed on both sides of the coach or motor area. In most trucks, this is the driver’s cab. USDOT numbers are most often applied to the cab doors
  • Minimum height is two inches so, the numbers should be visible from 50 feet.
  • Numbers should be printed in colors that contrast with the background. For example, white numbers on a black truck or black numbers on a white truck
  • They should be printed in easy to read fonts

Why Do We Need USDOT Numbers?

when USDOT numbers are required and where to display them.

USDOT numbers are used to monitor and improve safety on interstate highways. They’re used for the following:


  • Collect safety information
  • Monitor a business’s safety record

“FMCSA maintains several websites that provide easy access to valuable safety-related information. Users only need a company’s name, USDOT number or Motor Carrier (MC) Number to perform a search. Read the descriptions below to decide what you need. If you are arranging transportation for a group, the Passenger Carrier Safety Web Site helps you select the right vehicle and find the safest passenger carrier companies.

Data Qs allows you to request and track a review of Federal and State data issued by FMCSA that you feel may be incomplete or incorrect. The system automatically forwards your Request for Data Review (RDR) to the appropriate office for resolution and collects updates and responses for current Requests.” — FMCSA (Feaderal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Company Safety Records

  • Complete audits

“The audit is conducted by an FMCSA-certified auditor at the carrier’s place of business. Or electronically, by submitting relevant documents to FMCSA online or via mail or fax. FMCSA will tell carriers which type of audit they have been selected for by phone or mail.

During the Safety Audit, carriers will be asked to submit documentation which verifies that they have established effective safety management controls. Auditors may request documents related to drivers and vehicles, as well as general operating procedures and record-keeping requirements.” — FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration — Safety Audits

  • Track compliance

  • Investigate accidents

  • Vehicle inspections

What Other Requirements Are There Before I Can Get a USDOT Number? 

“In addition to filing an application for operating authority. All applicants for motor carrier, freight forwarder, and broker authorities must have specific insurance and legal process agent documents on file before the FMCSA will issue the authorities. The required filings vary, based on the types of registrations involved.

Please note that first-time applicants with FMCSA must apply using the Unified Registration System (URS) as of December 12, 2015. Existing registration- or authority-holders may apply for authorities using the OP-series forms until a later date. On January 17, 2017, FMCSA published a Federal Register notice with more details on the suspension of the URS effectiveness date.

Liability and cargo insurance forms must be submitted directly (online) by the home office of the insurance company furnishing the coverage. The FMCSA does not furnish copies of insurance forms.” — FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Administration) Registration and Insurance Requirements

What Else do I need to Know?

“Any time a carrier or other regulated entity changes its name or address, or other details in their record. They should update their US DOT and operating authority record with FMCSA in a timely manner. In addition, FMCSA requires all entities under its jurisdiction to update their information every two years …” — FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Upadting your USDOT Number 

Where Can I Get USDOT Numbers to put on My Truck?

So, here’s where we come in. You can get USDOT numbers from most any printer, heck, you can even order them online. However, if your USDOT numbers don’t adhere to FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) standards, you could face a stiff fine. Because if your numbers aren’t placed correctly, aren’t legible, or don’t contrast well enough to be seen from 50 feet away, you will have a problem that could cost you and sideline your vehicle.

And it’s not only producing USDOT numbers that adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. But it’s also producing the numbers using high-quality material with inks that match that material. It’s print operators that know what they’re doing, as well as experienced installers. A USDOT number that peels off, falls apart, or bleeds doesn’t do you much good. It’s not only when USDOT numbers are required and where to display them, but also how to do it correctly.

TKO Knows When USDOT Numbers Are Required and Where to Display Them

One way to be certain you follow USDOT guidelines to the “T” is to use an experienced provider. We’ve been producing USDOT numbers for more than 30 years. So, if you have any questions or if we can help you, please Contact Us, because, we’ve got your number. We know when USDOT numbers are required and where to display them.

If you have any questions about when USDOT numbers are required and where to display them we have the answers, Contact Us .

If you’d like to learn more about when USDOT numbers are required and where to display them, try this link, FMCSA.DOT: Do I need a USDOT Number?

TKO Graphix is a national fleet and vehicle graphics company helping customers since 1985. We provide full-service graphic design, digital printing, screen printing, graphics installation, and removal of large format graphics.” — About TKO Graphix