Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Intrastate VS. Interstate Authority: What's the Difference?

At Truck Services of North America, our customers often ask about the differences between intrastate and interstate trucking. They may sound similar, but when it comes to regulations, there is a world of difference. Understanding these different requirements is important for properly maintaining your authority and avoiding excessive fees or penalties.

Intrastate VS. Interstate Authority: What's the Difference?So first, what do they mean? Intrastate truckers travel within one particular state only. Interstate truckers cross state lines and travel between two or more states.

Sounds simple enough. But what if you’re transitioning from intrastate to interstate trucking? What will you need to do differently?

If your journey beyond the borders is one-time only, then a temporary trip and fuel permits may be issued in lieu of IRP and IFTA. Truck Services of North America can apply for any permits you may need. However, even for temporary interstate travel, you will still need to change your existing DOT#, if you have one, to an interstate #. (Exception: unless you are operating under someone else’s DOT and/or MC#.)

But if this is a more permanent transition you’re making, then permits will prove to be an expensive hassle.

There are five keys to unlocking the boundless roads of interstate trucking!

  • USDOT Number: Issued by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), the USDOT # is required for vehicles that travel interstate either hauling cargo or transporting passengers and that meet one or more of these requirements: 1. A vehicle has a gross or combined weight of 10,001 lbs or more. 2. Transports 8 or more passengers for compensation. 3. Transports 15 or more passengers not for compensation. 4. Transports hazardous materials. This number serves as your identification during inspections, compliance reviews and more.
    *If you solely travel intrastate, you will still be required to obtain a USDOT number if you transport hazardous materials or if you travel in one of the 33 states that require a DOT#.
  • MC#: The MC# serves as your interstate authority, or your right to travel between states. In addition to your DOT#, you may be required to obtain one or more type of authority through the FMCSA based upon your business and the type of cargo you carry. The type of authority obtained will determine the type and level of insurance coverage needed. TSNAmerica can help you determine what kind of authority you need.
  • UCR: The Unified Carrier Registration Agreement requires anyone operating a commercial vehicle interstate or internationally and that weighs at least 10,001 lbs to register annually and pay fees based on the number of vehicles used. Even if your business is not based in a participating state, interstate carriers are still required to register with UCR and will be assigned a base jurisdiction in a nearby state.
  • IRP: The International Registration Plan is required for commercial motor carriers operating in multiple jurisdictions across the contiguous United States or provinces of Canada. Vehicles that require IRP have a gross weight in excess of 26,000 lbs, and/or have three or more axles. IRP fees are determined by the number of miles driven in each jurisdiction, but all fees are paid to the base jurisdiction only. This jurisdiction apportions the funds accordingly, which are then used to improve highways and safety programs.
  • IFTA: The International Fuel Tax Agreement, like the IRP, applies to commercial motor carriers traveling in more than one jurisdiction (state or province). Fuel use must be accurately recorded and filed with one’s base jurisdiction four times a year. Taxes owed are then distributed to other jurisdictions according to the amount of fuel burned in each.
In addition to these five keys, some states require further state-based registration if you travel through them, such as New York, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Oregon.

Truck Services of North America can ensure you have the correct intra- or interstate authority for your business. Why spend hours or even days researching and applying for permits and registrations, hoping you have all of your bases covered? As a premier processing service, we already know the answers to all of your questions, and we can apply for everything you need quickly and affordably.

Visit to see how we can cut down on your paperwork. Then send us a Service Request Form, email us at or call 803.386.0320. Let us do our job, so you can get back to yours!

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