What is a DOT Number? Here’s How To Find It

By: Harrison Gough Last Updated: Sep 18, 2023

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A US DOT number is a unique identifier assigned to moving companies that can be checked online or by phone.

What is a DOT Number? Here’s How To Find It

A US DOT number is essentially a license plate for movers. By typing this unique identifier into a government database, you can review a company’s safety rating, accident history, and any customer complaints, ensuring you hire long distance movers who are fully compliant with US DOT regulations.

Diving further, we’ll guide you on the ins and outs of US DOT, US DOT regulations, and how to check this crucial identifier effectively.

In this article

What Is a US DOT Number?

A US DOT number is a formal identification assigned by the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) to moving companies and commercial vehicles engaged in interstate transportation.

If a moving company transports people or goods across state boundaries, possessing a US DOT number is mandatory.

Movers operating across state borders are members of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA website lists each company’s US DOT number, allowing for easy verification and tracking of their performance.

While rare, some dishonest individuals may attempt to create fake US DOT numbers to avoid scrutiny of their safety records. To avoid falling victim to such schemes, consumers can visit the FMCSA website and verify the legitimacy of a moving company’s US DOT number.

It’s important to note that hiring a moving company for interstate relocation without a US DOT number is not advisable. All commercial interstate moving firms must possess a valid US DOT number, as it is a legal prerequisite for operating commercial vehicles in this capacity. Choosing the best movers means selecting those who adhere to the necessary regulations and possess a valid US DOT number.

How to Check a US DOT Number

To check the validity and details of a US DOT number, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) relies on the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System database.

The SAFER system serves as a comprehensive repository of registered moving companies’ safety and complaint data. In the following steps, we’ll guide you through the process of finding a company’s US DOT number using the FMCSA website.

Step 1: Go to the SAFER System Search Page of FMCSA

The SAFER System is a comprehensive database that stores registered moving companies’ safety and complaint information.

To begin your search, visit the designated SAFER System Search Page on the FMCSA website. The system allows you to search for companies by various methods, such as the company name, US DOT number, or MC/MX number.

If you’re looking to determine a company’s US DOT number, searching by name would probably be the easiest approach.

Step 2: Select the Right Company

After initiating the search, you may receive multiple results, especially if you searched by name. It’s important to carefully examine the listed companies and select the one that matches your intended or current location.

For example, if you are looking for a moving company in Seattle and find four options, choose the one that aligns with that location. If you are uncertain about a company’s location, you can typically find this information on their official website or social media profiles.

Step 3: Find the Required Information on the Company Snapshot Page

Once you have identified the correct company, click on its name to access the company snapshot page. This page provides valuable information, including the company’s previous accident records and safety rating.

If you conducted the search by name and were unaware of the US DOT number, you can locate it in various sections of the company snapshot page.

Look for the US DOT number in the upper right corner of the page, just below the company’s legal name. Additionally, you can find it in the company information section, located below their phone number and mailing address. Now that you have obtained the US DOT number, future searches will be more efficient and straightforward.

By following these steps and utilizing the SAFER System database, you can easily check a moving company’s US DOT number and gather essential information to make informed decisions and hire best movers for your needs.

Things to Look for When Checking a Mover’s US DOT Number

Performing a DOT number lookup to check a mover’s US DOT number may seem simple, but understanding the results can be challenging.

Here are some of the essential aspects to consider when verifying the legitimacy and reliability of your chosen movers:

1. Checking for Fraud

To ensure that a moving company is not fraudulent, cross-check the information on its website with the details provided in the FMCSA’s database. Verify the following key elements:

  • US DOT number: Ensure that the US DOT number listed on the website matches the one in the FMCSA’s database.
  • Name, Address, and Phone Number: Confirm that the company’s contact information aligns with the records in the database.
  • State Carrier ID Number: Validate the state carrier ID number provided by the company.
  • Operating Status: Verify that the operating status of the company is “ACTIVE” and avoid those marked as “OUT-OF-SERVICE,” “Inactive US DOT Number,” or “NOT AUTHORIZED.”

2. Checking for Crashes

To assess the safety record of a mover, you can review their crash history. Click on the “Inspections/Crashes In US” hyperlink in the upper left corner of the search results page. The crash records will detail incidents reported to the FMCSA within the previous 24 months, categorized into fatal, injury, and tow incidents.

“Fatal” accidents are those in which at least one individual was killed. Accidents categorized as “Injury” include the ones where someone suffered from a non-fatal injury. Finally, “Tow” incidents are accidents where the mover’s vehicle had to be towed, but no one was injured or killed.

3. Checking for Safety Rating

To evaluate the safety standards of a moving company, click on the “Safety Rating” hyperlink in the upper left corner of the search results page. The FMCSA assigns one of three grades:

  • Satisfactory: This is the highest rating and indicates compliance with all FMCSA safety requirements and US DOT regulations.
  • Conditional: This is given when a company is out of compliance with one or more safety requirements and regulations.
  • Unsatisfactory: The lowest rating, this indicates substantial non-compliance with safety requirements and regulations.

4. Checking for Insurance

While insurance records are not included in the main FMCSA search results, you can access them by clicking “Licensing & Insurance” in the top right corner of the page.

Enter the US DOT number or company name to search for insurance and licensing information. While the report may not provide extensive details, it allows you to cross-check basic information and determine if the insurance is revoked or pending.

5. Checking for Complaints

Unfortunately, the FMCSA search results often lack detailed customer complaint information.

To obtain a more comprehensive understanding of a mover’s reputation, take a few minutes to read online reviews on platforms like Google and Yelp. These platforms offer valuable insights into the experiences of previous customers, aiding in your decision-making process.

US DOT Numbers Should Be a Deciding Factor in Your Move

When planning a move, considering a moving company’s USDOT number is just as crucial a factor in your decision-making, if not more, as the cost to hire movers.

The US DOT number is a unique identifier assigned by the FMCSA to moving companies that engage in interstate transportation of people and goods. It serves as a protective measure for individuals seeking reliable movers, helping them avoid falling victim to unreliable or fraudulent companies.