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Before entering the State of California, a trucker must have a federal Department
of Transportation (DOT) Number. As part of the registration process, you must
provide your Federal ID number if you are involved in transportation services
as a motor carrier.
HOW TO OBTAIN A U.S. DOT NUMBER
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Adminstration (FMCSA) issues USDOT numbers. Please see the following FMCSA web sites:
www.fmcsa.dot.gov | Apply for USDOT number
General FMCSA phone number: 1-800-832-5660.
FMCSA phone number: (916) 930-2760.
HOW TO LOCATE A COMPANY
See the FMCSA web site: "SAFER - Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System." To find a company, click on the link "Company Snapshot" in the middle column. You can search by USDOT number, MC/MX Number, or company name.
The Motor Carrier Permit requires a CA number.
IN-STATE CARRIERS: A commercial vehicle operated only within the state of California must obtain a Motor Carrier Permit, a CA number, and as of September 2016 a U.S. Department
of Transportation (DOT) Number as well. See Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website: US DOT Number.
OUT-OF-STATE CARRIERS: Some out-of-state carriers must obtain a Motor Carrier Permit and a CA number in addition to the U.S. DOT number to come into California. For more information on who must obtain a Motor Carrier Permit, see the website: Motor Carrier Permit.
CA NUMBER DISPLAY: Per California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 34507.5, (a) Every motor carrier... shall obtain a carrier identification number ... (b) The carrier identification number assigned to the motor carrier ... shall be displayed on both sides of each vehicle, or on both sides of at least one motor vehicle in each combination ...
APPLY for MOTOR CARRIER PERMIT and CA NUMBER:
A Motor Carrier Permit may be obtained from the California Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV). (See the Motor Carrier Permit web page.)
A CA number can be obtained from the California Highway Patrol (CHP). See this DMV website for instructions and a link to the CHP form.
ACTIVE MOTOR CARRIER LISTING
This website by the California Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) lists active motor carriers and their CA numbers. This site also lists liability insurance companies.
A commercial vehicle in California must have a name or trademark displayed on both sides of each vehicle, legible from 50 feet during daylight hours, of the person under whose authority the vehicle or combination is being operated or the name of the lessor or lessee. The relevant California Vehicle (CVC) Sections 27900(a) and 27901 are copied below (with bolding added):
27900. (a) Every motor vehicle or combination of vehicles used to carry the property of others for hire or used to carry passengers for hire, any truck or truck tractor having three or more axles or any truck tractor with a semitrailer, and all commercial motor vehicles, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 34601, shall have displayed on both sides of each vehicle or on both sides of one of the vehicles in each combination of vehicles the name or trademark of the person under whose authority the vehicle or combination of vehicles is being operated.
27901. The display of the name or trademark shall be in letters in sharp contrast to the background and shall be of such size, shape, and color as to be readily legible during daylight hours from a distance of 50 feet. This section does not prohibit additional displays not inconsistent with this article.
For more information on name or trademark displays, contact the Commercial Vehicle Section of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) at (916) 843-3400.