Enforcement of New Truck Marking Regulations Begins
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR Section 390.21), all vehicles over 10,000 pounds that are operated interstate must display an active and valid USDOT Number. Although this regulation has been in effect since July of 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) had set July 5, 2005 as the actual enforcement date for this regulation. As this date has now passed, all operators of commercial motor vehicles that operate without a USDOT Number after July 5th are now subject to notices of violation and fines for non-compliance. Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) are defined in 49 CFR Part 390 as all trucks over 10,000 pounds, all vehicles transporting hazardous materials regardless of weight, all for-hire passenger carriers operating vehicles with more than an 8 passenger capacity (manufacturer’s rating), and all not-for-hire passenger carriers operating vehicles with more than a 15 passenger capacity (manufacturer’s rating).
These truck marking regulations require that the legal name of the carrier (or a single trade name) and the carrier’s duly issued USDOT Number appear on both sides of all self-propelled CMVs in letters that contrast sharply in color with the background on which the letters are placed. Lettering must be readily legible, during daylight hours, from a distance of 50 feet (15.24
meters) while the CMV is stationary.
Owner-operators leased on to a motor carrier are required to display their carrier’s USDOT Number. However, some states are now requiring that owner-operators get their own USDOT Number as a condition to get their apportioned International Registration Plan (IRP) license plates renewed. These Owner-operators, if responsible for their open IRP renewal, must secure what is referred to as a “registrant USDOT Number” but still display their carrier’s USDOT Number.
Additionally, many states that participate in the federal Performance & Registration Information Systems Management (PRISM) program have adopted the federal truck marking regulations by incorporating the federal regulations into state regulations. These states include Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. If you operate point-to-point within these states, you now must have a USDOT Number. Some states have statutes which impose significant civil penalties. In New York, for instance, operating without the proper markings can result in the issuance of a notice of violation, one that carriers a civil penalty of up to $5,000.
Once a USDOT Number is issued, a “new entrant” carrier is audited by FMCSA 90 days after registration. Audits are conducted by Special Agents of the FMCSA, state law enforcement officers and private contractors to determine if a carrier has adequate safety management controls in place. Audit topics
include: driver qualifications, hours of service, drug and alcohol testing, vehicle maintenance, record keeping and the like. To secure a USDOT Number and learn how you can prepare for and pass a USDOT Safety Audit, call DOTAuthority.com Toll Free at (888) 414-1874 or visit www.dotauthority.com.