Interstate trucking authority, also called an operating authority, is a permit held by truck drivers who deliver goods between states. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration along with state transportation agencies in 38 states oversee interstate trucking licenses through a single state registration system (SSRS). This authority is only part of the equation for trucking companies working on a regional or national basis. If you plan on shipping goods from the Northeast to the Southwest, you will need a USDOT number, interstate trucking authority and individual state authorities before loading up.
Purpose of Interstate Trucking Authority
The primary purpose of an interstate trucking authority is state and federal oversight over trucking safety. Every trucker applying for an interstate trucking authority has to pass through at least one safety program before receiving his permit. The connection of the interstate trucking authority to a USDOT number allows transportation authorities to track accidents and fines accrued by permitted drivers. An added benefit to the interstate trucking authority is due diligence performed by operators or individual truckers into state transportation laws. With a majority of states requiring registration under the Single State Registration System (SSRS), truckers must learn about minimum insurance coverage, registration fees and other policies that differ from state to state.
Single State Registration System
The Single State Registration System (SSRS) has streamlined the process of applying for state and federal trucking authority throughout the United States. This federal program allows truckers to pay all of their permit and authority fees to their home states rather than sending out payments to multiple states during registration renewal. With the fluctuating costs of diesel fuel and rising gas taxes hitting the trucking industry hard, the SSRS lets truckers stay on the road rather than tracking down paperwork and filling out applications. In many cases, the payments made to SSRS cover state registrations, trucking authority and annual fuel taxes.
Accompanying State and Federal Trucking Licenses
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration offers a seven-step process for new truckers and companies looking for interstate trucking authority. During this application process, an interstate driver will need to get a USDOT number, acquire trucking authority from every state on his route and enter the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program. The USDOT number is similar to a tax ID number or Social Security number, giving state and federal authorities instant access to information on an operator based on this number. If a driver works in a state that does not require an interstate trucking authority, the FMCSA recommends establishing a home base in a neighboring state to facilitate legal operation. The New Entrant Safety Assurance program is an educational initiative that gives drivers the tools to avoid accidents and handle emergencies on the road.
Working With Trucking Authority Brokers
Several brokers offer interstate trucking authority packages that expedite the application process while taking care of state licensing requirements. They offer the full gamut of licensing needs for interstate truckers. Their trucking packages includes permits for states, interstate trucking authority and complimentary authority in the driver’s home state. Some include a review of a trucker’s insurance for compliance with state insurance laws and oversight of an authority application from start to finish.
Time Frame for Interstate Trucking Authority
The issuance of an interstate trucking authority can take up to seven weeks to complete. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has reduced the application period drastically with electronic permitting, cutting the old 90-day waiting period down to about three weeks. The bigger holdup for interstate truckers involves the issuance of an authority from state agencies. While most agencies have streamlined the interstate trucking authority process via phone and Internet, it can take between two weeks and a month to receive your permit from applicable states.