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Frequently Asked Questions

If you don't find your question here, 
feel free to call us at 410-865-1094 or email dbowden1@mdot.state.md.us                    

1. Where do I get a copy of the Motor Carrier Handbook?
2. Where can I get information on the commercial motor vehicle laws and regulations?
3. Where do I get a copy of the Preventive Maintenance Handbook?
4. I’m a contractor and when I went through the scale house, the police told me I need a DOT number and a physical card. I thought only truckers needed that. Why did I get written up for that?
5. What is the definition of a commercial vehicle?
6. When do I need a US DOT number or a MDDOT number? How do I get one?
7.  Where does the US DOT or MDDOT number go on the vehicle?
8. What vehicles must go through weigh stations in Maryland?
9. Does a rental truck hauling personal property have to stop at weigh stations?
10. Does a motor coach with passengers need to go through the scales?
11. Where do I get Overweight/Overheight permits?
12. Where can I report violations of the motor carrier safety regulations?
13. After setting up as a motor carrier, what additional steps do I need to take as a household goods moving company?
14. Questions about IRP (International Registration Plan).
15. Questions about IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement).
16. Questions for FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
17. Questions for Maryland State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division.
18. Questions for Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Commercial Vehicle Safety Unit.
19. How do I get safety information on a trucking company?
20. Questions about E-Z Pass.
21. Where can I get a trip permit if I only come into Maryland once a year?
22. Where in the Maryland regulations (COMAR) does it reference the federal safety rules?
23. Where do I get a permit to haul alcohol into or out of Maryland?
24. What are the costs of tolls on Maryland's toll roads?
25. What do I need in order to haul diesel and gas from Virginia to Maryland? I am already set up as an interstate carrier (U.S. DOT number, proper authority, etc.).
26. What is the preventive maintenance / vehicle inspection program in Maryland?

27. What is CSA2010?

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1. Where do I get a copy of the Motor Carrier Handbook?

Click here to download  - Motor Carrier Handbook – or call 410-865-1094 to request a hardcopy.

2. Where can I get information on the commercial motor vehicle laws and regulations?

Hardcopies of the Annotated Code of Maryland (Maryland Law) and Code of Maryland Administrative Regulations (COMAR) can be ordered from the Division of State Documents at 410-974-2486 or www.dsd.state.md.us
The regulations can be access online:
The Annotated Code of Maryland (Maryland Law).  In ENTER ARTICLE box, select TRANSPORTATION then click on SUBMIT QUERY.  Next in ENTER SECTION box, select Title and Section from pull down menu, then click on SUBMIT QUERY.
The Code of Maryland Administrative Regulations (COMAR).  Click on option number 2, then select Title 11 Department of Transportation.

Hardcopies of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations can be purchased from retail vendors or accessed online at www.fmcsa.dot.gov.

3. Where do I get a copy of the Preventive Maintenance Handbook?

Division of State Documents, 410-974-2486, 16 Francis St., Jeffrey Bldg, Annapolis, MD 21401.  There is a nominal fee. Click here for information regarding the PreventiveMaintenance Program.

4. I’m a contractor and when I went through the scale house, the police told me I need a DOT number and a physical card.  I thought only truckers needed that.  Why did I get written up for that?

Both the federal and Maryland commercial vehicle safety laws apply to any business that operates a commercial motor vehicle.  It doesn’t matter what the type of business you are in.  Compliance with the regulations depends on the type of vehicle you operate in your business.

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5. What is the definition of a commercial vehicle?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations have defined a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as noted below.  Maryland has adopted this definition for commercial vehicles that operate only within state boundaries (intrastate).

CMV definition:
Commercial motor vehicle means any vehicle operated in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle—
(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 10,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater; or
(2) Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
(4) Is used in transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding.

6. When do I need a US DOT number or a MDDOT number?  How do I get one?

Every commercial vehicle must display either a US DOT identification number or a Maryland-issued Motor Carrier Identification Number (MDDOT number).  Carriers must have only one identification number.

A USDOT number is proof you have registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as a for-hire or private carrier.
You must register and obtain a US DOT number when:
· You operate commercial vehicles interstate.
· You cross state lines, including but not limited to Washington DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia.
· Interstate carriers can obtain a USDOT number immediately online at the FMCSA website.  You can file the application online, or download to print the forms by clicking DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM under HOW TO REGISTER.

A MDDOT number is required when a carrier does not cross state lines (remains intrastate) and does not handle interstate cargo.
· None of a carrier’s vehicles can ever cross state lines, including but not limited to Washington DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia.
· None of the vehicles can ever carry cargo that came from across state lines in a continuation of movement.

· Motor carriers that subsequently begin interstate operations must have their number converted to a US DOT number.
· The following vehicles, if only operated intrastate, may be exempt: Farm trucks and truck tractors, farm area motor vehicles, emergency vehicles, vehicles transporting money or commercial paper, vehicles owned or operated by the State or local government, and vehicles within 15 days of their purchase.
· You can obtain a MDDOT number application at any weigh and inspection station, by calling 1-800-543-4564 or 410-582-5734, or you can print the application from the internet at SHA's Motor Carrier Division website.  Mail the completed application to the Motor Carrier Division, Office of Traffic & Safety, State Highway Administration, 7491 Connelley Drive, Hanover, MD 21076.  You will be notified of your number after your application has been processed.

7.  Where does the US DOT or MDDOT number go on the vehicle?

Either the US DOT number or the MDDOT number must be displayed as specified in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations part 390.21(c):
(1) appear on both sides of the self-propelled commercial motor vehicle (CMV);
(2) be in letters that contrast sharply in color with the background on which the letters are placed;
(3) be readily legible, during daylight hours, from a distance of 50 feet while the CMV is stationary (lettering should be a minimum of 2 inches to meet this requirement); and
(4) be kept and maintained in a manner that retains the legibility.

8. What vehicles must go through weigh stations in Maryland?

All vehicles with a gross vehicle weight or gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 10,000 pounds must stop at open weigh stations.  Only vehicles that are operating in commerce may be subject to a safety inspection.

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9. Does a rental truck hauling personal property have to stop at weigh stations?

Yes, if it weighs more than 10,000 pounds.  However, these vehicles may not be subject to a safety inspection.

10. Does a motor coach with passengers need to go through the scales?

Yes because the bus is required to be weighed.  The vehicle will not undergo a safety inspection because passengers are on board.

11. Where do I get Overweight/Overheight hauling permits?

SHA – Motor Carrier Division – Permit Office 1-800-543-4564 or online at hauling permit information.

12. Where can I report violations of the motor carrier safety regulations?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a nationwide toll-free number, 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238), for commercial vehicle drivers to submit reports of actual or potential violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.  They also have the National Consumer  Complaint Database website.  In Maryland, you should report violations to the Maryland State Police, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division at 410-694-6100.

13. After setting up as a motor carrier, what additional steps do I need to take as a household goods moving company?

INTERSTATE MOVERS

FMCSA regulates interstate household goods movers and requires you to register with the agency.  FMCSA has developed a Web site, www.ProtectYourMove.gov, to assist consumers moving across State lines.  Answers to the below listed questions can be found through this site, in addition to several Department of Transportation publications, such as “Ready To Move?” and “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.”

Some of the most frequently asked consumer questions and concerns are:

  • Is the mover required to give me a binding estimate?
  • Is the mover required to inventory my goods?
  • Is the mover allowed to hold my goods “hostage” if I refuse to pay a higher invoice amount than what I was quoted?

FMCSA also has a toll-free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238) and Web site, nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov, for consumer complaints on interstate movers.

INTRASTATE MOVERS

Maryland is considered an unregulated state for moving because there is no registration requirement and there is no tariff; however, there are a few state regulations that all moving companies operating in Maryland must follow.  A summary of those regulations is below.

• On an intrastate move, carriers cannot hold or threaten to hold a customer’s goods hostage. Companies must release a consumer’s goods and pursue any disputed monies owed to them in civil court.  Maryland has a warehouseman’s lien with the ability to auction off goods when specific conditions are met if storage services are provided. 

• A household goods mover, on completion of household goods moving services for an intrastate move, must provide a consumer with a written receipt that states the mover's legal name and the address and telephone number of the household goods mover's resident agent in the state or, if the household goods mover does not have a resident agent in the state, the household goods mover's principal place of business. 

• Movers must notify their customers that the customers should purchase insurance in addition to the level of valuation. 

Visit Maryland Mover's Conference for more information.

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14. Questions about IRP (International Registration Plan).

Contact: Motor Vehicle Administration, MVA, 410-787-2971 or online at www.mva.state.md.us.

15. Questions about IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement).

Contact: Comptroller’s Office, 410-260-7980, or Motor Fuel Tax division.

16. Questions for FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Contact: 800-832-5660 or online at www.fmcsa.dot.gov.

17. Questions for Maryland State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division.

Contact: 410-694-6100 or Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division.

18. Questions for Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Commercial Vehicle Safety Unit.

Contact:  Commercial Vehicle Safety Unit.

19. How do I get safety information on a trucking company?

Motor Carrier Safety information is through the FMCSA Motor Carrier Safety Measurement System.

20. Questions about E-Z Pass.

Contact: E-ZPass Service Center,  888-321-6824  www.ezpassmd.com.

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21. Where can I get a trip permit if I only come into Maryland once a year?

An out-of-state vehicle operator must obtain a Maryland 72-Hour Trip Permit prior to driving the vehicle in Maryland when all of these conditions are true:

  • the vehicle is registered in another jurisdiction; and,  
  • the vehicle meets the criteria for IRP registration, but is not authorized to travel in Maryland (the vehicle may or may not have an IRP registration in the other jurisdiction); and,  
  • the vehicle operator wishes to drive the vehicle in Maryland for no more than 72 hours.

Note that the use of a Maryland 72-Hour Trip Permit is only recommended when the out-of-state vehicle will be driven in Maryland less than three times a year.

Trip permits can be obtained from third-party commercial providers. For a list of trip permit providers, contact MVA at 1-800-950-1MVA (1682).

22. Where in the Maryland regulations (COMAR) does it reference the federal safety rules?

COMAR 11.21.01.02 incorporates by reference 49 CFR parts 40, 382, 383, 385, 386, 390, 391, 392, 393, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399.

23. Where do I get a permit to haul alcohol into or out of Maryland?

Contact the Comptroller's Alcohol & Tobacco division at 410-260-7980 or Alcohol Tax.

24. What are the costs of tolls on Maryland's toll roads?

Follow this link to Maryland Transportation Authority's listing of tolls-- Maryland Toll Roads .

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25. What do I need in order to haul diesel and gas from Virginia to Maryland?  I am already set up as an interstate carrier (U.S. DOT number, proper authority, etc.).

Any person transporting motor fuel in interstate and intrastate commerce must register as a Petroleum Transporter.  For additional information, contact the Comptroller's Motor Fuel, Alcohol, and Tobacco Tax Unit at 410-260-7215.

Bulk petroleum transporters with a storage capacity of 500 gallons or more must obtain a permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Oil Control Program.  For additional information, call 410-537-3461, or go to MDE’s Oil Pollution and Tank Management webpage.

26. What is the preventive maintenance / vehicle inspection program in Maryland?

The Preventive Maintenance Program (PM Program) requires that commercial vehicles be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained every 12 months or 25,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

The PM Program applies to:

            Class E truck with a registered / operating GVWR of over 10,000 pounds;

            Class F tractor;

            Class G trailer or semi-trailer with a registered / operating GVWR of over 10,000 pounds;

            Class P passenger bus;

            Class M multipurpose vehicle with a seating for 16 or more people or a vehicle previously registered as a Class H school bus or Class P bus.

(For regulations concerning government owned vehicles, see COMAR 11.22.01.02B(6).)

The vehicle owner can perform the inspection or may have someone else do the inspection.  Meeting the requirements of the law is the responsibility of the vehicle owner.

The laws and regulations covering the PM Program are in the PM Handbook, which can be purchased from the Maryland Division of State Documents.  A Preventive Maintenance Report must be filled out and retained in your files.  Blank reports are in the PM Handbook and can be photocopied as many times as necessary.


To order a PM Handbook, call the Maryland Division of State Documents at 410-260-3876 or complete the COMAR order form and follow the instructions.

27. What is CSA?

CSA, short for Compliance*Safety*Accountability, is FMCSA's initiative to work with the States and industry to further reduce CMV crashes, fatalities, and injuries.  It is an enforcement and compliance model that adds flexibility, efficiency, and equitability to the process of checking a carrier's compliance with the federal safety regulations.

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