The Differences Between Interstate & Intrastate Trucking

Interstate vs Intrastate: The Differences Between Interstate & Intrastate Trucking

Many people get confused about the differences of interstate vs intrastate trucking. But the FMCSA Registration LLC experts are here to help. Interstate trucking refers to driving a commercial motor vehicle over state lines. It also applies to leaving the country. Say that a carrier transports cargo outside of its base state. This means that the carrier’s engaging in interstate commerce. Why? Because it transports goods across state lines. Check out BOC-3 .

Intrastate trucking refers to only operating a commercial motor vehicle within state boundaries. Say that a carrier’s role doesn’t apply to the FMCSA’s interstate commerce descriptions. That means the carrier engages in intrastate commerce on an exclusive basis. The final destination must exist in the same state that the goods originate from. Please continue reading to find out more about interstate vs intrastate commerce.

What Are the Differences Between Interstate & Intrastate Commerce?

The key differences between interstate and intrastate commerce get defined by the FMCSA. “FMCSA” stands for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA defines “intrastate” in the following manner. It's when a motor carrier performs transportation/trade ONLY within its home state. “Interstate” refers to carriers performing transportation/trade from one state to another. This can also involve moving goods and cargo outside of the United States. Check out Motor Carrier Authority .

Interstate commerce can also refer to moving goods somewhere in the same state. But this only applies if a truck passes through a different state. (Before returning to the base state.) These important concepts to keep in mind when it comes to interstate vs intrastate. Trucking businesses must make accurate designations on their FMCSA/DOT forms. Otherwise, they risk receiving severe fines and penalties from the US government. Visit Starting a Trucking Company Package .

Why Are the Differences Between Interstate & Intrastate Trucking Important?

It’s crucial for trucking companies to distinguish interstate and intrastate trucking. Why? Because there are many laws and rules related to both concepts of commerce. Motor carriers must adhere to all these DOT/FMCSA laws and rules. Otherwise, a company can face severe fines and penalties. Every truck driver must make sure that he or she adheres to all trucking regulations. That is the basis of trucking compliance. Carriers have to ensure that they know which laws apply to their drivers. Doing so will protect the financial well-being of any carrier. Also visit Driver Qualification Files .

Does your trucking company engage in interstate trucking? If so, then it’s subject to all FMCSR rules and regulations. “FMCSR” refers to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. Now, say that your trucking company only takes part in intrastate commerce. This means a carrier isn’t subject to FMCSA and FMCSR rules and regulations. Instead, a company must adhere to individual state rules and laws. Here’s an example. Let’s say you own an intrastate trucking company in Texas. In this case, your carrier must refer to TMCSR rules and laws. What does “TMCSR” stand for? It stands for “Texas Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.” The Texas Department of Public Safety puts those regulations in place for carriers. Also visit how to get TEXAS dot number .

Each Interstate Transportation Company Needs a DOT Number

Every interstate trucking business must secure a USDOT Number . A “USDOT Number” and “DOT Number” refer to the exact same trucking registration. So, what’s the purpose of a DOT Number? The US government uses it as an identifier of interstate trucking companies. The number helps track crucial safety information related to motor carriers. Each interstate trucking business should get all DOT/FMCSA registration taken care of. In fact, that’s the purpose of our organization. We help companies secure DOT Numbers and other FMCSA registration with ease. Also visit Drug and Alcohol Program .

Let’s go over which type of carrier needs a DOT Number. The following conditions apply to any company in interstate commerce. A vehicle with a GVWR exceeding 10,0001 pounds needs a DOT Number. So does a truck that transports more than eight people for money. Even a truck that transports more than fifteen people for free needs a DOT Number.

Does your vehicle have a safety permit/transport hazardous material in intrastate commerce? If so, that vehicle must also have a USDOT Number. Keep in mind that some states have different rules and regulations than other states. Here’s an example. Certain states make all interstate commercial vehicles have DOT Numbers. You can find out more information by contacting your state licensing agency.

Securing Operating Authority With an MC Number

Are you unsure if you need to receive Operating Authority from the FMCSA? Almost all interstate trucking companies must secure Operating Authority. They can do so by getting an MC Number . But carriers must also get a separate USDOT Number. Let’s go over which types of carriers need numbers with MC status. Any for-hire carrier operating by charging a fee receiving compensation needs the number. So do companies that transport passengers. Even a business that arranges for people to get transported needs an MC Number. Does your carrier transport FMCSA regulated commodities? Or, does it arrange commodities to get transported through interstate commerce? Either way, a carrier that meets one of these conditions needs a number with MC status. Visit DOT Authority Package .

Remember that Operating Authority refers to registering with the US federal government. The DOT and FMCSA enforce what type of business a carrier can run. They also tell carriers what types of cargo they can carry under the law. The concept of Operating Authority relates to insurance. A carrier must figure out the limits of trucking insurance that it needs. It’s crucial for every trucker to carry the correct level of insurance. This way, a carrier can stay protected when accidents take place. Are you a new applicant and have never received Operating Authority before? If so, you must begin the registration process through the URS. “URS” stands for Unified Registration System. You can find that system online by going to the official URS website. New applicants can receive both an MC and DOT Number at the same time.

Interstate Motor Carriers Need Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Registration

Many US carriers must complete Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) registration . It applies to for-hire interstate carriers of passengers or property. UCR is also for all private property carriers conducting interstate travel. UCR is even for carriers in Mexico or Canada that operate in the United States. The UCR registration period lasts every year from October 1 to December 31. Even a carrier that performs one single interstate move in a year has to register. The FMCSA bases its UCR fee structure on the size of fleets. A trucking company with a small fleet will not have to pay much money to register.

IFTA & IRP Trucking Compliance

The DOT and FMCSA refer to the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). They also operate to ensure IRP compliance for all trucking companies. This is where understanding differences between interstate and intrastate matters. IFTA and IRP are both government programs that apply to interstate carriers in the US. The IFTA registratio n focuses on collecting fuel taxes. IRP refers to filing registration paperwork in certain states. Through the programs, careers only have to file and pay taxes/fees in a single state. Doing so means that a carrier files the paperwork that applies to all other states. Visit FMCSA Registration Trucking .

So, when does the FMCSA consider carriers “interstate” for IFTA and IRP filing? Only when a truck’s wheels cross from one state line to another. Sometimes interstate carriers get classified “intrastate” under IFTA and IRP registration . Are you struggling with this common trucking problem? If so, please call our trucking professionals right now. They can help you complete IFTA and IRP registration. What’s considered an IFTA and IRP qualified vehicle by the FMCSA? It’s a truck with a power unit that has two axles. The GVR (gross vehicle weight) must exceed 26,000 pounds. An IRP or IFTA vehicle can also have at least three axles, regardless of weight. Check out Trucking Authority Packages .

It’s crucial for carriers to track all miles of their IRP and IFTA qualified vehicles. This includes empty miles and accrued miles when a vehicle’s used for personal use. Miles should get logged even when a vehicle gets sent to a shop for maintenance. Or, if a vehicle undergoes any road tests. Do you need help maintaining fuel or mileage records? If so, please contact our organization today. Our experts can provide guidance to help your carrier follow all FMCSA rules. Visit

Are There Insurance Requirements From the FMCSA for Interstate Carriers?

Yes, the FMCSA has strict rules in place about insurance requirements. These rules (and regulations) apply to all interstate carriers. For-hire freight carriers have to carry liability insurance coverage. The minimum amount is $750,000.00. Do you work for a for-hire or private carrier of specific oils and hazardous wastes? If so, you must carry a minimum of one million dollars in liability coverage. Carriers of other hazardous materials have to carry a bigger liability  insurance policy. That total cannot be smaller than five million dollars. Private buses that carry fewer than 15 people need 1.5 million in liability coverage. Buses carrying more than 15 people need five million in liability insurance coverage. Check out MCS 150 .

Do You Have Questions About Intrastate vs Interstate Trucking? Contact Us Today

FMCSA Registration LLC's team is ready to answer your intrastate vs interstate questions. Each staff member has extensive experience working in the trucking industry. They know all about registering (and maintaining compliance) with the FMCSA and DOT. You're welcome to call our phone number right now. Or, you can message us here on our website or send us an email. We look forward to serving as your resource for intrastate and interstate trucking. Visit DOT Audit .