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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or the FMCSA, is a division established in January 2000 as an integral part within the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). The FMCSA regulates the trucking industry in the United States, with the primary objective of improving the safety of commercial motor vehicles and truck drivers that operate them. The goals of the FMCSA are attained through enacting and enforcing safety regulations. Any company that operates commercial motor vehicles that carry passengers, or conducts the business of hauling cargo between states, must register with the FMCSA and obtain a USDOT Number.
When a company that conducts business across state lines, or carries passengers between states, registers with the FMCSA they are required to obtain a USDOT number. The USDOT Number is unique to each individual company. This number is used to track the data regarding a company’s safety information obtained through audits, inspections, compliance reviews, and accident investigations.
Upon application, any first-time carrier will receive automatic enrollment in the FMCSA New Entrant Safety Assurance Program. The entrant will not receive permanent registration status until they have been in the program for a period of 18 months. During this initial period, the new entrants must pass a safety audit within the first 90 days. Additionally, the company must maintain acceptable roadside safety performance during the probationary period.
Thirty-one states also require a USDOT number for commercial vehicle registrants regardless of whether or not their business is conducted between states. Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
It should be noted that if a company is operating strictly as a broker or freight forwarder, then it is not necessary to obtain a USDOT Number.
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Companies can apply for a USDOT Number by going to the FMCSA website, www.fmcsa.dot.gov, for information. You can also reach the FMCSA by calling their toll free number, 1-800-832-5660. Each state also has a local Department of Transportation office or FMCSA field offices. You will need to complete the forms provided, including the MCS-150 or MCS-150B. Online registration is encouraged by the FMCSA but a docket number and PIN will need to be obtained before registering. The FMCSA provides assistance for online registration with a helpful step-by-step guide that can be found on their website.
When a company obtains a USDOT Number it must be visibly displayed on every commercial motor vehicle within its fleet that is required by law to display the number. Because the purpose of the USDOT Number is to track safety data, it allows the average driver an identifier in order to locate the company and report operators that are driving in an unsafe manner. Vehicles operating with faulty or dangerous equipment can also be reported to the company to which the USDOT Number belongs. The USDOT number provides a universal mechanism for reporting unsafe driving actions as well as any safety issues related to a commercial motor vehicle.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has a website that allows for a search by USDOT Number. If you have a number and want to receive information about the company to which the number belongs you can go to http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/CompanySnapshot.aspx to obtain that information. Simply type in the number in the search box and make sure the USDOT Number option has been selected.
The search results should return information about the size of the company, their identifying information, safety record (to include a safety rating if available), information about accidents, and inspection summaries. This service is provided by the USDOT free of charge.
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.
Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.
And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.
The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.
When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.
The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.
They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?
So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!
If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.
I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!
The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!
There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.
After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.
Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.
By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.
We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!
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