What is a DOT number and why it’s necessary for commercial vehicles?

DOT stands for the departments of transport number and it is assigned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA. It is necessary for all commercial vehicles that weigh more than a certain amount and carry a certain number of passengers especially if the vehicle is traveling between the states where DOT number is required as in most of the US states local DOT number is required to make sure the security of the vehicle as well as road security.

It is not hard to get a DOT number in the United States of America through FMCSA but it can take a week or two to get it. There are many companies like US DOT registration company who work in collaboration with FMCSA to provide fast services as vehicle owners can get DOT certificate within a few minutes of registration of  application without going through a long registration process.

Why is DOT important?

A DOT certificate acts as a quality seal that shows that the driver is skilled enough to handle onboard material or passengers. The DOT number is not required for family owned vehicles; it is only necessary for semi trucks, public transports and material delivery vehicles. In order to get a commercial driver licence it’s necessary to have a redisted DOT number as while on road it acts as a proof that the driver has gone through particular training required for commercial driving.

As commercial vehicles are very different from private vehicles and a special set of skills is required for them and to ensure road safety.In order to get a DOT certificate drivers have to go through a certain physical exam and also series of safe driving tests to make sure about the competence of the driver.

Process of DOT registration

Getting a DOT number directly through FMCSA comes with zero cost but it will require the driver or the company’s credit card information in order to verify the identity details. Even though a credit card will be registered but FMCSA will not deduct the amount from it for the registration form or any other services, that is why there is no need to worry about the cost of the registration through the FMCSA website.

Online registration for the DOT form requires credit card number or digital signature and if a driver does not have both of them he will have to fill out the paper application form and send it to the FMCSA office through mail. Registration form will require a driver’s personal identification record and vehicle fitness information.

Drivers or companies can apply for DOT registration directly but it will take a bit longer to get DOT registration when applied directly. These days many compliance service companies are offering services which will help drivers get DOT registration within hours in return for a small amount of fee. That’s why it’s preferable to  renew DOT registration as soon as possible because the fine costs way more then the fee of compliance companies.

Is DOT required for every vehicle?

No, DOT is required for only certain types of vehicles which are used for commercial purposes. As for private vehicles, only local drivers license is needed for vehicles who have to travel on interstate routes and weigh more than 10,000 pounds; a special permit is needed in the form of a DOT certificate.

Vehicles who carry more than fifteen paid passengers also require a DOT certificate in order to make sure of passengers safety, and drivers credibility is ensured by the FMCSA. Logistics management companies, delivering services and transportation of sensitive material also require a DOT certificate in order to ensure road safety.


 Due to the growing number of vehicles on roads these days and subsequent increase in the number of road accidents special measures are taken by governments in the form of DOT certificates to ensure road safety. Every driver and driving company needs a DOT  certificate to move freely and securely. If any driving  agency operates without a DOT certificate or expired one, huge monetary fines are implemented on them and even their license can be canceled in some cases. That is why it’s important to follow the guidelines given by FMCSA in order to avoid inconvenience in business as getting caught with expired DOT registration comes with huge fines and also disciplinary actions.

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