The terms intrastate and interstate are too often confused regarding the trucking business. According to Simplex Group, these two forms of commercial travel are different, and it is vital to understand how they differ. At its most basic level, the difference between intrastate and interstate trucking is that interstate is when vehicles go between multiple states, and intrastate trucking is when vehicles only travel in one state.
Interstate trucking carriers must register with the Federal Secretary of Transportation and adhere to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) laws and regulations. Separately, intrastate trucking companies must follow individual state laws. Other differences include:
Interstate Trucking Carriers Need USDOT Numbers
According to the FMCSA, all interstate commercial truckers need USDOT numbers. Failure to correctly apply and display a USDOT number can result in legal consequences for the truck driver and the trucking company.
Some Interstate Trucking Company Need Operating Authority Numbers
Typically, trucking companies need an MC number if they transport passengers across state lines or move commodities regulated by the federal government. Then again, per the FMCSA, some trucking carriers must also have an interstate operating authority number before their driver can operate commercial trucks. In this situation, companies require a DOT and MC number to engage in interstate commerce legally.
The Insurance Requirements Can Differ
For interstate and intrastate carriers; insurance requirements may differ. Under the FMCSA, trucking carriers must have at least $750,000 in liability insurance coverage, while in some states, say Texas, carriers must have $300,000 in liability insurance.
Different Types of Trucks May be Used for Interstate or Intrastate Trucking
Many trucking companies operate interstate, delivering loads through more than one state or country. These vehicles are generally more prominent because they carry heavier and larger loads. Some examples of typical interstate trucks are:
- Semi-trailers and semi-trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Reefer trucks or refrigerated trailers
- Tanker trucks
- Dry vans
But because not all commercial vehicles need to cross the state line, some trucks require high-level licenses to operate close to home. Some examples of intrastate trucks include the following:
- Tow trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Moving vehicles
- Delivery trucks
- Concrete mixing trucks
- Box trucks
- Bucket lift trucks
What are Intrastate and Interstate Similar?
Although the laws and regulations are different for intrastate and interstate commercial trucking companies, some things are in common. After all, designing regulations and laws have been to ensure safe operating procedures. Some requirements that apply for both interstate and intrastate trucking include:
- Driver qualifications
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Commercial driving license requirements
- Transporting hazardous materials
- Insurance coverage for commercial trucks
To keep road users safe, the inter and intrastate trucking laws cut down on congested traffic caused by crashes, limit any disruptions to supply chains and trucking companies’ financial losses and limit how many people go to the hospital for truck collision related-injuries.
Moreover, all truck drivers must operate with a duty of care, meaning they must refrain from road rage, drunk driving, speeding, fatigued driving, distracted driving, and ignoring traffic guidelines and signals.
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