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Federally Regulated Interstate Commerce

Jul 22, 2016
2 min read

Many trucking companies and their commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are engaged in interstate commerce. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT), is responsible for enacting, maintaining, and enforcing federal safety regulations that are designed to keep truckers and the general public safe from trucking accidents throughout the country. Motor carriers are to register with the FMCSA and receive a US DOT identification number.

Authority To Operate

Companies that do the following are required to have interstate Operating Authority in addition to a DOT number:

  • Operate as for-hire carriers (for a fee or other compensation)
  • Transport passengers in interstate commerce
  • Transport federally-regulated commodities or arranging for their transport, in interstate commerce

What Is A DOT Number?

An industry that operates commercial vehicles transporting passengers or hauling cargo in interstate commerce must be registered with the FMCSA and must have a USDOT Number. 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.

Jurisdictions of PUCO

In Ohio, commercial transportation companies are public utilities and fall under the jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Transportation Department. This government body works in conjunction with the FMCSA as well as Ohio State Highway Patrol, registers motor carriers, and enforces adherence to state and federal safety standards.

PUCO currently maintains the Ohio Motor Carrier Information System (OMCIS), which contains regulatory information as well as detailed information about the trucking industry as a whole. PUCO also conducts safety audits which will review insurance, driver qualifications and hours of service, vehicle maintenance and transportation of hazardous materials. PUCO investigators also conduct roadside safety inspections.

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