[box type="shadow"]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.[/box]
[box type="shadow"]Trucking Authority
Any company that engages in the commercial, “for hire” transport of passengers or goods in interstate commerce must have the proper operating authority. This authority is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which accepts applications from companies wishing to engage in interstate commerce. The FMCSA issues an authority in the form of an “MC,” “MX” or “FF” number. The trucking authority dictates the type of operations a company may engage in, where the company vehicles can legally operate and what types of cargo or passenger services it is permitted to provide. Also included in the operating authority are requirements for the level of insurance and financial responsibility the company is obligated to maintain.
Types of Authority Granted
The FMCSA grants trucking authorities in several different specific types of operation. Some of these types include authority for a motor carriers to transport general commodities (except household goods), transportation of passengers, authority for companies domiciled within Mexico, freight forwarders and freight brokerage.
Other Businesses Requiring a Trucking Authority
Companies that intend to operate as freight brokers or freight forwarders are also required by the FMCSA to obtain a trucking authority.
Carriers that operate exclusively within a federally recognized commercial zone or private carriers that transport exempt commodities are not required to obtain an operating authority.
Commercial Zone and Exempt Commodities
According to the FMCSA, “a commercial zone is, for example, a geographic territory that includes multiple states bordering on a major metropolitan city, such as Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.” Exempt commodities are goods which are not federally regulated.[/box]