The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not regulate how a vehicle is branded. The FMCSA does want to quickly identify which company or carrier is currently operating the vehicle. If there are multiple names on the vehicle, identifying the company or carrier could be a confusing task resulting in uncertainty. For this reason, the FMSCA has regulated how to mark commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) with the following requirements:

  1. Requires all interstate motor carriers to display the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) motor carrier identification number issued by the FMCSA.
  2. The identification number must be preceded by the letters “USDOT.”
  3. Only one USDOT number may be visible on the vehicle.
  4. Requires that CMVs be marked with the legal name, or a single trade name, of the business entity that owns or controls the motor carrier operation. This information must match the information on the motor carrier’s Form MCS-150.
  5. If the name of any person other than the operating carrier appears on the commercial motor vehicle, the name of the operating carrier must be followed by the required information, and be preceded by the words “operated by.”


Characteristics of the Marking

  • The marking must appear on both sides of the self-propelled commercial motor vehicle.
  • Be in letters that contrast with the background color of the vehicle.
  • Be easily legible during daylight hours (from a distance of 50 feet while the commercial motor vehicle is stationary).
  • Be maintained in a way that remains legible.
  • The marking may be painted on the commercial motor vehicle or may consist of a removable device if that device meets the identification and legibility requirements.

It is important you file your MCS-150 and have your CMV marked properly. You cannot put them into service and operate them on public highways otherwise.

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