Thursday, June 4, 2015

Updating Your USDOT Number: Everything You Need to Know

We understand what a pain it is to remember everything that needs to be done throughout the year to keep your truck on the road legally. You’ve got vehicle registration, annual HVUT renewals, quarterly IFTA filings, HazMat Certificate registration, and of course, DOT number biennial updates.

If you’re asking yourself right now what in the world DOT biennial updates are, or when you need to get your own updated, then keep reading and we’ll tell you what it is, how to get one, who needs to update, and when.

What is a USDOT Number?

A DOT number is issued by the Department of Transportation and it serves as a unique identifier when collecting and monitoring a company’s safety information acquired during audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and inspections.

Do I Need a DOT Number?

Companies that operate commercial vehicles transporting passengers or hauling cargo in interstate commerce must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and must also have a DOT number.

Here are the specific requirements for interstate vehicles requiring a DOT number:

  • Your vehicle has a gross combined weight of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Your vehicle transports 8 or more passengers for compensation 
  • Your vehicle transports 15 or more passengers whether it is for compensation or not
  • You transport hazardous materials 
If you travel intrastate only, meaning only within a specific state, you are required to obtain a DOT number if you transport hazardous materials or if you are operating in one of the 33 states the requires all commercial carriers to have a DOT number. For a list of those states, you can visit

Once you obtain your DOT number, you will be issued a PIN that is needed to update your information every other year with the FMCSA.

Is It Time for My Biennial Update?

All DOT numbers must be updated with the FMCSA biennially (meaning every two years), in order to remain active. Even if none of your businesses information has changed, your business has ceased interstate operations since the last update, or you are no longer in business and did not already notify the FMCSA, you are still required to update.

The deadline for you to update is determined by the last digit in your DOT number. Each digit corresponds to the month in which you should update. Refer to the chart below to see exactly when you need to file based on the last digit of your DOT number.

USDOT number ending in: Must file by last day of:

  • 1: January
  • 2: February
  • 3: March
  • 4: April
  • 5: May
  • 6: June
  • 7: July
  • 8: August
  • 9: September
  • 0: October
If the next-to-last digit of your DOT number is odd, the update is necessary every odd-numbered calendar year. If the next-to-last digit of your DOT number is even, then the update is necessary every even-numbered calendar year.

If you fail to complete your biennial update, it will result in the deactivation of your DOT number, and it may result in civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day, not to exceed $10,000.

How Can I Update Mine?

The easiest way, of course, is by contacting your friends at TSNAmerica! We provide a wide variety of services, and of course, DOT number registration and updates are among them!

You can also update yourself online by visiting the FMCSA website. But why add more to your plate when you’re already busy doing what you do best! Let us do our thing. And once you’re our customer, you’ll get the added benefit of us reminding you every time you need an update. At TSNAmerica, we take pride in our great service and going the extra mile, give us a call today at 803.386.0320 and see for yourself!

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