Is your commercial truck or van regulated by the DOT?

If your commercial vehicle carries hazardous materials OR if it weighs over 10,000 lbs. OR if you carry people or products owned by others across state lines, it is regulated by the state or federal government.

The weight of your vehicle is the maximum allowable total weight established by the manufacturer and INCLUDES any trailer. Examples of vehicles meeting the 10,000 weight limit include a Ford F-350 dual rear-wheel pickup with a maximum weight of 11,300 lbs., or a combination unit such as a Ford F-150 pickup (with a weight of 7,200 lbs.) towing a trailer with a maximum allowable weight of 2,801 lbs. or more.

Federal government rules apply if you (or the products you are carrying) go across state lines (even if you were not the person taking the product across state lines). Otherwise, your commercial vehicle is regulated by the state department of transportation.

If you are regulated by the federal government (US Department of Transportation) and your commercial vehicle is over 26,000 pounds OR your vehicle is designed to carry 15+ passengers plus a driver OR if you are carrying hazardous materials, the driver MUST have a commercial driver's license. There are some exceptions for farmers. If you have a vehicle between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds, you do not have to have a commercial driver's license, but you do have to register with the USDOT and comply with safety and paperwork requirements. These include:
  • Application for employment (driver must be 21 years old).
  • Safety performance history verifications.
  • Original and annual motor vehicle records.
  • Current copy of certificate of medical exam-health card.
  • Annual certificate of violations.
  • Annual review.
  • Road test certificate.
The US DOT has a poster with a phone number to find out if your vehicle is subject to these requirements. Click here for the poster and phone number.