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How To My Reactivate DOT Number

A CDL is not the only thing you need as a commercial driver who operates vehicles that exceed a certain weight carry a particular number of paying passengers or cross state lines. In addition, a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number is needed to prove you have the skills and competence to safely operate a commercial vehicle. 

This certification must be renewed every two years or else your USDOT number will be deactivated and you might not be able to continue working as a result. If you think you already have a DOT number lookup your DOT status. If it is inactive, this article will provide all of the information you need to get back on the road.

What Is an Inactive DOT Number? 

If the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) changes your DOT status to inactive, you won’t be able to do business as a motor carrier. Most states require that all commercial vehicle operators obtain a USDOT number and keep it updated. So, if your DOT status has become inactive, this situation will severely impact your ability to make money.

Why Is My DOT Number Inactive?

Your USDOT number can be rendered inactive for various reasons, all of which are listed below:

  • Failure to file biennial paperwork
  • Failed safety audit
  • Failure to submit safety audit
  • Failure to submit new entry audit
  • Unpaid International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) taxes
  • Lapse in trucking insurance

Do I Need an Active DOT Number To Operate?

A USDOT number is mandatory if your vehicle transports specific types and amounts of hazardous materials, transports more than 8 paying passengers, including the driver, or carries more than 15 passengers including the driver in a vehicle that isn’t used for compensation. 

You also need an active DOT status if the vehicle’s gross weight rating or combination weight rating is 10,001 pounds or more. Driving across state lines also means you need to keep your USDOT number active. If your DOT status is inactive, you are officially non-compliant with the FMCSA regulations, meaning you cannot legally operate a commercial vehicle that meets the conditions we just mentioned.

How Do I Know If My DOT Number Is Active?

You can conduct a DOT number look-up online by visiting the SAFER website and searching your USDOT number or company name. Sending an email through the FMCSA’s web form is another way to obtain your DOT status. You can also get it by calling FMCSA customer service at (800) 832-5660. 

What Information Do I Need to Reactivate DOT Number?

There are a few different forms that you need to fill out to reactivate your USDOT number. The particular form that you need for reinstatement will depend on the reason for the deactivation of your DOT number. If your DOT status was switched to inactive as the result of failure to submit a required form, you must get it submitted before applying for reinstatement. 

Once the matter is resolved, you can obtain the reinstatement form needed from the FMCSA website. Always use the FMCSA website to find the correct form as other sites may not have the updated version. 

Failing to submit your biennial form requires you to fill out the MCS-150 form. Those transporting hazardous materials or who have a hazmat endorsement will need an MCS-150B form and not the standard version. Regardless of which form needs to be filled out and submitted to the FMCSA for reinstatement, the following information is required along with the form:

  • Motor Carrier (MC) number
  • Legal name of carrier
  • Persons or company name on check or money order
  • Billing address if paying by credit card
  • Active phone number
  • Signature and date
  • Email (optional)

Where Can I Reactivate My DOT Number?

Every two years you are required to reapply for your DOT certification. Here are the steps involved with reinstating your USDOT number should you find the status inactive.

First, you must obtain your DOT status by visiting the FMCSA’s SAFER website and doing a DOT number look up or search by your company’s name. Once you submit that information, you might see DOT status may read, Record Inactive or Inactive USDOT Number per 49 CFR 390.19(b)(4).

No matter which status pops up you will need to submit a Motor Carrier Identification Report, also known as Form MCS-150. The MCS-150 can be found on the FMCSA website along with directions on signing and submitting the form. The FMCSA regularly updates its forms, so remember to only use the official ones found on their website. 

You can then send in the proper paperwork with a reinstatement request and the personal information required either by fax, snail mail, or their web contact form. 

The instructions for your particular situation are easily found on the website alongside the form you have to fill out. If you need help with the process you can contact the FMCSA by phone, chat, or email. 

What If I Am Unable to Update My DOT Number Online?

To complete your update online you need your USDOT number, EIN/SSN, Company Official information, and assigned PIN number. If you don’t have the PIN number you will have to use an alternative option to send in your information.  

If you need to mail in your reactivation request, be sure to use the correct address to ensure the information will be processed in a timely manner. Send it to the U.S. DOT’s address: 

US Department of Transportation 

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Attention: Office of Registration and Safety Information

1200 New Jersey Avenue SE 

Washington, DC 20590

Faxing the information to (202) 366-3477 is another option. 

The recommended option is to scan and upload the MCS-150 using the FMCSA web form

Do I Have To Reactivate My DOT Number?

Not reactivating your USDOT number and operating a commercial vehicle illegally can have major consequences. You and your company can be fined anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000 depending on the infractions. 

Your license can also be suspended or revoked if you are non-compliant. Before you get behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle, be sure your DOT status is active. Otherwise, you’ll be putting yourself, other drivers, and your employer at risk.

Conduct a Regular DOT Number Look Up to Ensure Yours is Active

A DOT certification means you have the ability to keep everyone on the road safe as you operate a commercial vehicle. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with transporting hazardous materials, everyday people, and large hauls across state lines. 

It is up to you as the driver to make sure all of your paperwork is in order. That includes ensuring that your USDOT number is active so that you can continue to safely navigate any and all roads out there. 

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