DOT Number Size Requirements

number on top of a cab

USDOT Number Size Specifications

Are you confused about DOT Number size requirements? You're not alone. Carriers across the US have expressed frustration about finding the requirements. Well, look no further. The mission of our organization is to help carriers maintain great standing with the DOT.

That’s why we communicate with the DOT and FMCSA every week. We recognize that a violation of a rule or regulation can cause a lot of harm. Trucking companies lose money whenever a violation takes place. That’s why we’ve listed standard USDOT Number size requirements below. Follow the requirements as best you can. Doing so will help your company maintain good standing with the USDOT and FMCSA.

The Size Requirements for Any DOT Number

US Department of Transportation Numbers serves as identification tools. The purpose of the Numbers is to maintain records on every commercial motor vehicle. That’s why specifications exist about the appearance and size of DOT Numbers. Drivers and trucking professionals have to display the numbers in a certain format. The US government makes a very clear demand.

It is that DOT Numbers and MC Number on commercial trucks should appear legible during the day. In fact, the DOT Numbers must have minimum visibility from 50 feet away. The minimum height of DOT numbers is 2 inches. 

Almost all carriers display DOT Numbers on both doors of each vehicle. This is because the USDOT demands that the DOT Number gets displayed on the power unit. (“Power unit” refers to a vehicle door or cab door.) It’s best to display your DOT number on both sides of every CMV. These size requirements apply to every carrier that operates in interstate commerce. Vehicles that do not meet these requirements will get put out of service.

More DOT Number Size Requirements

US carriers should keep in mind that the lettering of the DOT Numbers should get displayed in bold. The coloring of the numbers should contrast with the color of the surrounding surface. You do not want to risk applying DOT Number lettering that’s the same color as a vehicle. Plus, high contrast will help ensure that there is visibility. Our DOT experts recommend making your lettering of the DOT Numbers as large as you can. Doing so will help ensure that you avoid potential fines due to infractions. But don't make your DOT Numbers so large that they cause confusion. The key is for the number size to exceed two inches in length. 

CMVs should have a marking containing the name of the business entity. That business entity controls every motor carrier operation. You can also display your “doing business as”/DBA name if you have one. If so, use the business entity name that’s listed within your MCS-150 form. Do your commercial motor vehicles sometimes drive through hazardous weather conditions?

If so, our organization recommends using durable data plates. Most get produced using anodized aluminum that is photosensitive. These data plates can prevent your asset identification numbers from getting destroyed.

How Do Most Carriers Take Care of DOT Number Size Requirements? 

Many carriers display their DOT Numbers using standard block letters. But that doesn’t mean it’s prohibited to use other fonts. Make sure that the writing appears legible. If you have any doubt, considering using a different font. The majority of carriers use vinyl lettering for all their vehicle lettering needs. Make sure that you use high-quality vinyl lettering that is long-lasting. 

The DOT lettering for most trucking companies is in black or white. You can use any color that you want. The key is to make sure that the lettering contrasts with the vehicle color. For example, say you operate with a lot of chrome. Your DOT Number lettering can also be chrome. But only if there is distinct color contrast. Do you have vehicles in your fleet that are new or painted in recent months? If so, our experts suggest that you add your company’s contact information. You can even consider applying both the contact information and logo at once.

Who Is Exempt From a DOT Number?

Here is the type of trucking professional that isn’t required to hold a CDL. It is a driver that operates a vehicle with the GVWR/GCWR/GVW/GCW under 26,001 pounds. These drivers transport animals, vehicles, or personal goods through interstate/intrastate trucking commerce.

Do You Need Personal Numbers for DOT?

Say that someone uses a truck or trailer for personal reasons. The trailer is below the 10,000-pound threshold. This means that person doesn’t need to file for a DOT number. But say that person uses his/her truck/trailer for commercial reasons. This means that the individual has to file for a DOT Number. Exact state requirements vary when it comes to filing for a DOT Number.

How Do I Find the DOT Number on My Truck?

Here is where your USDOT Number must get displayed. It must appear on both sides of the motor area or coach area. The height of the DOT Number must exceed two inches. The Number must be visible from 50 feet away. Print your DOT Numbers using colors that will contrast with truck backgrounds.

Does My DOT Number Expire?

The FMCSA and USDOT do not focus on when DOT numbers expire. Instead, they focus on updates. That’s why the FMCSA requires all companies to update their DOT information every two years. Failure to do so can result in large fines and penalties.

Contact Us for More Information About DOT Number Size Requirements

Do you need more information about DOT Number size requirements? If so, our experts are standing by and ready to assist right now. We’ve helped countless carriers across the US take care of DOT requirements. And our team is only a phone call away from helping your employees. Our dedicated staff can walk you through all regulations for displaying USDOT Numbers. We can even provide a list of suggested products that can help ensure compliance. Please also browse our website to view more USDOT information. Our experts look forward to helping your transportation business succeed.

Prior to the 20th century, freight was generally transported overland via trains and railroads. During this time, trains were essential, and they were highly efficient at moving large amounts of freight. But, they could only deliver that freight to urban centers for distribution by horse-drawn transport. Though there were several trucks throughout this time, they were used more as space for advertising that for actual utility. At this time, the use of range for trucks was quite challenging. The use of electric engines, lack of paved rural roads, and small load capacities limited trucks to most short-haul urban routes.

“ The first original song about truck driving appeared in 1939 when Cliff Bruner and His Boys recorded Ted Daffan's "Truck Driver's Blues," a song explicitly marketed to roadside cafe owners who were installing juke boxes in record numbers to serve truckers and other motorists.” - Shane Hamilton

“Country music scholar Bill Malone has gone so far as to say that trucking songs account for the largest component of work songs in the country music catalog. For a style of music that has, since its commercial inception in the 1920s, drawn attention to the coal man, the steel drivin’ man, the railroad worker, and the cowboy, this certainly speaks volumes about the cultural attraction of the trucker in the American popular consciousness.” — Shane Hamilton

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 40 million United States citizens have moved annually over the last decade. Of those people who have moved in the United States, 84.5% of them have moved within their own state, 12.5% have moved to another state, and 2.3% have moved to another country.

AMSA wanted to help consumers avoid untrustworthy or illegitimate movers. In January 2008, AMSA created the ProMover certification program for its members. As a member, you must have federal interstate operating authority. Members are also required to pass an annual criminal back check, be licensed by the FMCSA, and agree to abide by ethical standards. This would include honesty in advertising and in business transaction with customers. Each must also sign a contract committing to adhere to applicable Surface Transportation Board and FMCSA regulations. AMSA also takes into consideration and examines ownership. They are very strict, registration with state corporation commissions. This means that the mover must maintain at least a satisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As one can imagine, those that pass are authorized to display the ProMove logo on the websites and in marketing materials. However, those that fail will be expelled from the program (and AMSA) if they cannot correct discrepancies during probation.

Public transportation is vital to a large part of society and is in dire need of work and attention. In 2010, the DOT awarded $742.5 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to 11 transit projects. The awardees specifically focused light rail projects. One includes both a commuter rail extension and a subway project in New York City. The public transportation New York City has to offer is in need of some TLC. Another is working on a rapid bus transit system in Springfield, Oregon. The funds also subsidize a heavy rail project in northern Virginia. This finally completes the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Metro Silver Line, connecting to Washington, D.C., and the Washington Dulles International Airport. This is important because the DOT has previously agreed to subsidize the Silver Line construction to Reston, Virginia.

As of January 1, 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established as its own separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation. This came about under the "Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999". The FMCSA is based in Washington, D.C., employing more than 1,000 people throughout all 50 States, including in the District of Columbia. Their staff dedicates themselves to the improvement of safety among commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and to saving lives.

The FMCSA is a well-known division of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). It is generally responsible for the enforcement of FMCSA regulations. The driver of a CMV must keep a record of working hours via a log book. This record must reflect the total number of hours spent driving and resting, as well as the time at which the change of duty status occurred. In place of a log book, a motor carrier may choose to keep track of their hours using an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR). This automatically records the amount of time spent driving the vehicle.

The Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula is a mathematical formula used in the United States to determine the appropriate gross weight for a long distance moving vehicle, based on the axle number and spacing. Enforced by the Department of Transportation upon long-haul truck drivers, it is used as a means of preventing heavy vehicles from damaging roads and bridges. This is especially in particular to the total weight of a loaded truck, whether being used for commercial moving services or for long distance moving services in general.   According to the Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula, the total weight of a loaded truck (tractor and trailer, 5-axle rig) cannot exceed 80,000 lbs in the United States. Under ordinary circumstances, long-haul equipment trucks will weight about 15,000 kg (33,069 lbs). This leaves about 20,000 kg (44,092 lbs) of freight capacity. Likewise, a load is limited to the space available in the trailer, normally with dimensions of 48 ft (14.63 m) or 53 ft (16.15 m) long, 2.6 m (102.4 in) wide, 2.7 m (8 ft 10.3 in) high and 13 ft 6 in or 4.11 m high.

Full truckload carriers normally deliver a semi-trailer to a shipper who will fill the trailer with freight for one destination. Once the trailer is filled, the driver returns to the shipper to collect the required paperwork. Upon receiving the paperwork the driver will then leave with the trailer containing freight. Next, the driver will proceed to the consignee and deliver the freight him or herself. At times, a driver will transfer the trailer to another driver who will drive the freight the rest of the way. Full Truckload service (FTL) transit times are generally restricted by the driver's availability. This is according to Hours of Service regulations and distance. It is typically accepted that Full Truckload carriers will transport freight at an average rate of 47 miles per hour. This includes traffic jams, queues at intersections, other factors that influence transit time.  

As the American Interstate Highway System began to expand in the 1950's, the trucking industry began to take over a large market share. That is, a large share of the transportation of goods throughout the country. Before this era, trains had been relied on to transport the bulk of the goods cross country or state to state. The Interstate Highway System was influential as it allows for merchandise to travel door to door with ease. Since then, truckload carriers have taken advantage of the interstate system, especially when performing a long distance move. Typically, they bring the merchandise from one distribution center of the country to another part of the country. The increase in truckload freight transportation has reduced the time it takes to transport the goods. Whether the freight was manufactured or produced for the different areas internationally, the time it takes to transport goods has decreased dramatically.  

In the moving industry, transportation logistics management is incredibly important. Essentially, it is the management that implements and controls efficiency, the flow of storage of goods, as well as services. This includes related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption to meet customer's specifications. Logistics is quite complex but can be modeled, analyzed, visualized, and optimized by simulation software. Generally, the goal of transportation logistics management is to reduce or cut the use of such resources. A professional working in the field of moving logistics management is called a logistician.

The word cargo is in reference to particular goods that are generally used for commercial gain. Cargo transportation is generally meant to mean by ship, boat, or plane. However, the term now applies to all types of freight, now including goods carried by train, van, or truck. This term is now used in the case of goods in the cold-chain, as perishable inventory is always cargo in transport towards its final home. Even when it is held in climate-controlled facilities, it is important to remember perishable goods or inventory have a short life.

The American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) was organized and founded on December 12, 1914. On November 13, 1973, the name was altered to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. This slight change in name reflects a broadened scope of attention towards all modes of transportation. Despite the implications of the name change, most of the activities it is involved in still gravitate towards highways.

Throughout the United States, bypass routes are a special type of route most commonly used on an alternative routing of a highway around a town. Specifically when the main route of the highway goes through the town. Originally, these routes were designated as "truck routes" as a means to divert trucking traffic away from towns. However, this name was later changed by AASHTO in 1959 to what we now call a "bypass". Many "truck routes" continue to remain regardless that the mainline of the highway prohibits trucks.

The American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) is a non-profit trade association. AMSA represents members of the professional moving industry primarily based in the United States. The association consists of approximately 4,000 members. They consist of van lines, their agents, independent movers, forwarders, and industry suppliers. However, AMSA does not represent the self-storage industry.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is the most common government agency that is devoted to transportation in the United States. The DOT is the largest United States agency with the sole purpose of overseeing interstate travel and issue's USDOT Number filing to new carriers. The U.S., Canadian provinces, and many other local agencies have a similar organization in place. This way they can provide enforcement through DOT officers within their respective jurisdictions.