Any company that transports passengers or cargo across state commerce boundaries with a commercial vehicle must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and obtain a U.S. Department of Transportation number, explains the FMCSA. Companies transporting materials the Secretary of Transportation determines are hazardous and require a safety permit must also register and acquire a USDOT number whether the material is transported interstate or intrastate.
The FMCSA defines interstate commerce as trade, traffic or transportation between a location in one state to a location outside of the state of origination, including countries outside of the United States; or between two locations within a state that passes through another state or country outside of America, according to its website. If the trade, traffic or transportation of people or cargo occurs within a state, but begins or ends at a location outside of the United States, this is also considered interstate commerce.
A company must register with the FMCSA if it handles interstate commerce and uses a vehicle that has a gross vehicle combination weight of more than 10,001 pounds. Vehicles created to transport more than eight people, including the driver, for money, or created to carry more than 15 people including the driver with no money transaction must also register if the vehicle is involved in interstate commerce. Certain states, including Montana, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, also require companies meeting the above criteria to register with the state of origin.