Yes. Almost all sprinter and cargo vans in the United States are expected to possess DOT numbers to be able to obtain FMCSA authority.
In the United States, a van will need to have a number regardless of if it is used to transport cargo or passengers. Even an interstate van transporting hazardous materials will need to have a DOT number. The FMCSA considers the DOT number as a special identifier.
The number makes it possible for the FMCSA to assess the safety record of every carrier. Aside from that, it offers the US government the platform to guarantee that trucking companies are in line with the law.
The FMCSA will ask for this authority number in all transportation situations, be it DOT crash investigations, audits, safety inspections, or even compliance reviews.
Note that the DOT number is a must for every type of commercial vehicle fleet. Even a single truck or car that hauls cargo will need a registered number. If not, a driver cannot maintain compliance with FMCSA regulations.
You will also find that certain sprinter van operators need both an MC and DOT number. The MC number is considered another level of authority for hauling cargo or passengers. This MC number is meant for all sorts of interstate CMV operators.
Almost all for-hire van carriers will have to get this number especially if they intend to transport commodities. Or, if a van transports passengers within a state.
Important DOT Regulations for Sprinter Vans in the United States
There are certain regulations you have to beware of before you start your transportation business. To ensure you have the comprehensive information you need, below are those regulations to keep in mind.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
CDL is considered mandatory for anyone using a splinter van to deliver transportation services. According to the FMCSA, you will be expected to obtain a CDL if you meet the following:
Class A: Vans with a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 26,001 pounds or more, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds.
Class B: Vans with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating that does not exceed 10,000 pounds.
Class C: Vans that fail to meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but are hauling material that has been categorized as hazardous under federal law or designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
However, since most cargo vans tend to weigh far less than 26,000 lbs., the driver might not need a CDL to operate it. However, this will still depend on your location in the United States.
US DOT Number
According to the FMCSA, if you intend to take part or offer interstate commercial services and your vehicle meets stipulated weight requirements (generally more than 10,000 lbs.), then you will be expected to obtain a USDOT Number.
Aside from that, even if your plan is to just offer your services within your state, a good number of cities in the United States still make it mandatory that you obtain a USDOT number.
In most cases, you can be expected to obtain a Motor Carrier (or MC) number. This is only considered necessary if you intend on engaging in interstate commerce, you don’t own the freight you are moving, and you are going to be paid for hauling the freight.
To ensure you understand more regarding MC numbers or obtain the appropriate information, visit the FMCSA website.
Designate Agents for Service of Process (BOC-3)
If you do business or offer your services under your own authority, then you will be expected to file a BOC-3. It more or less outlines the exact person or organization that will be tasked with receiving legal documents on your behalf (i.e., if you need to get served a complaint, etc.).
According to the DOT, this agent will have to be designated for each state in or through which the carrier operates. The essence of this is if a claim is made against the carrier, they can be served in that state, even if the carrier does not reside there.
According to the FMCSA, every commercial driver in the United States who delivers or haul freight between states and has a maximum gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 pounds will need to obtain a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate (ME Certificate).
In addition, some states stipulate extra requirements for CDL operators. In some instances, you might be expected to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical and receive a medical card. This indicates that you are physically capable of handling the work required for this type of activity.
Hours of Service (HOS)
Drivers are always expected to stay in line with hours of service (HOS) requirements. The essence of this regulation is to guarantee everyone’s safety. As long as your vehicle is considered a CMV, this is a necessary regulation to comply with.
As per the FMCSA, a CMV is a vehicle that is utilized as part of a business, takes part in interstate commerce, and fits any of these descriptions;
- Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
- Possesses a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
- Is used to haul hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
If your sprinter van meets the specifications noted below, then you will also have to comply with HOS standards. At a high level, the requirements include:
- You are legally restrained from driving for more than 11 hours after 10 hours off duty,
- You get a 14-hour window for driving after 10 hours off duty,
- You will have to take a 30-minute driving break if you’ve driven for 8 straight hours
- You have a 60/70-hour limit on 7/8 consecutive days
- The driver is expected to maintain a log book that tracks their status (driving, off duty, sleeper berth, on duty but not driving). Most often, you will be expected to do this using an ELD (which stands for an Electronic Logging Device), but there are some exceptions.
Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs)
The FMCSA mandates drivers to carry out pre and post-trip inspections of their vehicles. This will most often encompass the inspections of things like your service brakes, parking brake, lighting devices and reflectors, coupling devices, wheels and rims, steering systems, horn, wipers, mirrors, emergency equipment (e.g., fire extinguishers, fuses, flares, etc.) and so on.
To ensure you have the right information regarding what needs to be in the DVIR, check out the FMCSA website and rules.
The Unified Carrier Registration (or UCR) is a federal program that necessitates that those who meet the requirements of interstate travel pay a yearly registration fee based on the total number of vehicles in their fleet.
Please note that if you are a carrier operating a commercial vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds, then you will have to adhere to the UCR.
Anyone who is subject to the UCR will have to register with them (and pay the applicable fee). The process can be started by visiting the official UCR website.
In the United States, sprinter vans used to transport around nine to 15 passengers for direct compensation will need a DOT number.
Any driver who gets payment directly from the passengers for their service, which qualifies as direct compensation, becomes subject to FMCSA requirements. Also, note that vans used to haul goods will also need to file for a DOT number as long as the vehicle is used on interstate routes.
Ensure to research the regulations in your jurisdiction for the right information especially since requirements tend to vary from state to state.