49 CFR Parts 300-399 (DOT/CMV) Regulations

Author – Ryan K. Thowson, Risk Control Specialist, Horst Insurance

Most of us have seen the “USDOT” (U.S. Department of Transportation) numbers on the sides of large, commercial motor vehicles such as tractor trailers, dump trucks, busses, etc., but have you ever noticed that smaller vehicles such as company pickup trucks or box trucks oftentimes have them as well? These USDOT numbers are typically associated with large carrier operations, but in many cases small business operations engaged in interstate commerce or the transportation of people will need them as well.

49 CFR (Transportation) Part 390.5 defines a Commercial Motor Vehicle as:

“Any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle

(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or

(2) Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or

(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or

(4) Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 USC 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.”

The first three requirements are fairly easy to interpret while the fourth simply means that any sized vehicle requiring hazardous material placarding is included. Again, 49 CFR regulations apply to those vehicles crossing state lines.

Vehicles which meet (or exceed) any of these requirements must apply for a USDOT number and comply with the applicable regulations. Vehicles which do not cross state lines must comply with state transportation requirements.

Contact Horst Risk Control for assistance or an assessment of your fleet management program today!