Michael Graham
Automotive Aftermarket Specialties





When you think of a vehicle that needs a DOT number, you probably think of a bus used to transport passengers or an 18 wheel semi truck. The definition of a vehicle subject to DOT regulations is broader, as it includes,

  • Vehicles weighing 4,536 kg (10,001 lbs) or more,
  • Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more,
  • Vehicles designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation,
  • Vehicles designed or used to transport nine or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation, and
  • Vehicles transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards.

An example of vehicle needing a DOT Number would be a Ram 3500 pickup truck being used to commercially transport goods from Denver, CO to Cheyenne, WY. Because the truck has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,500 lbs – 11,500 lbs., it needs a DOT Number.

Towing a trailer is often enough to require a DOT Number. For example, a Ram 2500 pickup truck has a gross vehicle weight rating of 9,000 – 9,900 lbs., falling under the threshold for requiring a DOT Number. However, the gross combination weight rating ranges from 11,250 – 17,370 lbs. This means that if the truck is towing a trailer with a high enough capacity, it requires a DOT Number.

Those who are not aware that they are operating a vehicle that is subject to DOT regulations and inspections will find out the hard way when the vehicle is pulled over for a roadside inspection. During the roadside inspection, should a vehicle that requires a DOT number not have one, it is subject to being placed out of service by the law enforcement officer performing the inspection.

To avoid the situation of a citation and a vehicle being placed out of service, make sure that you have a DOT Number for any vehicle that requires it, and that it is properly displayed on the vehicle.

This is just one of many regulatory compliance and risk management issues faced.  It is important to work with a professional that has a background in working with automotive businesses and background in providing insurance. Our team has over 55 years of combined experience working with businesses in the automotive and transport industries. Our specialization allows us to create safety and compliance programs tailored for your needs.

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