DOT, which stands for the Department of Transportation number is issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Authority. It is a registered number that is given to all commercial vehicles. Bear in mind, all commercial vehicles that weigh more than a certain amount and carry a specific number of passengers have to consider applying for the DOT number.  If you look for the Texas DOT form, you will be astonished to know that it has thousands of downloads every year because many people have joined the bandwagon of the trucking business. For most beginners, the process of attaining the DOT number can be daunting but there is no need to panic. In this feature, we will guide you through everything, you need to know about the DOT number and why you need it.

What is the DOT Certification?

In simple words, the DOT certification is the veracity of the fact that the driver is a sane individual and has the right skill set to drive commercial vehicles. Today, most states across the US have made it mandatory for commercial vehicles to have the DOT certification. This category is inclusive of delivery vehicles, semi-trucks, and public transportation. If you want a commercial driver’s license, it is crucial to have DOT certification. Most commercial drivers have the DOT number because it is proof of their job appliance. To successfully get the DOT certification, a driver has to go through a physical exam and various driving tests. If you don’t know, the UD department for the Transportation administrators registers the DOT number for every vehicle.

How Much Does it Cost?

Contrary to what you must have heard or read on the web, the DOT Number doesn’t cost a lot of money. In other words, you don’t have to be a millionaire to purchase it. At the time of registration, the Motor Carrier Authority will ask you to submit your credit card because it is part of their verification process. The registration process is free of cost and the website will take some personal details from your side. However, your credit card will not be charged by the company at all. The digital signature of the applicants is used by the FMCSA’s website. In contrast, if you are not comfortable with sharing your credit card, you can fill out the registration form manually. This will be a little more time-consuming and the documents will have to be mailed to the Motor Carrier Authority’s office.

Who Needs a DOT Number?

One of the leading misconceptions in the trucking industry is, only long-haul trucks require the DOT number. However, the truth be told, if you want to operate any kind of commercial vehicle in the US, you will have to file for the DOT number. While most states have made it mandatory for every commercial vehicle to have this number, a few of them will give exemption from it. On the other hand, you will have to apply for the DOT number, if you have planned to do the following with the commercial vehicle:

  • Driver the commercial vehicle on interstate routes
  • Transport between 9 to 15 passengers, inclusive of the driver
  • Transport hazardous materials actively
  • Use vehicles that weigh around 10,000 pounds

Failing to acquire the DOT number and setting off on a long road trip will eventually result in the permanent cancellation of the driver’s license.  However, if your business is not involved in the above-mentioned activities, you won’t have to invest in getting a DOT number.

Which States Require the DOT Number?

Apart from the federal regulations, there are many states that shy away from making the DOT number mandatory. However, the following states have made it clear for everyone in the trucking business to have a DOT Number:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Alaska
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming


If you want more information on the DOT number, it is best to check with the local state office. They will issue all the relevant information to your locality and guide you through the process in detail.