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What is a U.S. DOT Number Used For?

U.S. DOT NumberChances are high that when you see a commercial motor vehicle on the highway, such as an 18-wheeler, you will have noticed a U.S. DOT number on the cab’s doors.  Every licensed commercial tractor-trailer vehicle driving in the U.S. is required to have one.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the Department of Transportation, regulates commercial vehicles and requires U.S. DOT numbers on certain vehicles.  But what exactly is a U.S. DOT number and what is its purpose?

A U.S. DOT number is a unique identifier for companies that operate commercial motor vehicles.  Every commercial vehicle transporting persons or cargo interstate (across state lines) must obtain a U.S. DOT number.  Additionally, commercial vehicles transporting hazardous cargo intrastate (within a state’s borders) must also obtain a U.S. DOT number.  Texas is among a handful of states that require all 18 wheelers to obtain a U.S. DOT number.  Thus, if you see an 18-wheeler on the road in Texas, they will have a U.S. DOT number, even if they are simply transporting cargo locally. The U.S. DOT number is unique to an individual company.  Multiple commercial motor vehicles can use the same company’s U.S. DOT number.  A company is not required to obtain a new U.S. DOT number for every commercial motor vehicle in its fleet.

The U.S. DOT number serves as a method of collecting and monitoring a particular company’s safety information from audits, compliance reviews, inspections, and crash investigations.  Reviewing this collected information can lead to valuable evidence in a truck wreck case, such as repeated violations for the action that caused a wreck or a history of improper truck maintenance.  This information can be accessed at www.safer.gov.  U.S. DOT numbers make it easy to identify the correct legal name of a trucking company.  Some trucks have old and tattered logos or may have a “DBA” company name.  Searching for the company by the U.S. DOT number ensures that you find the proper legal name of the company that has registered the truck.

If you or a loved have been involved in a truck wreck and has suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of another person, please contact us immediately for a free consultation.  The attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm have successfully handled complex truck wreck cases for over a decade.  Our investigations into the trucking company’s U.S. DOT number has led to valuable insurance information and has demonstrated a company’s willingness to violate safety rules for profits.