While ICC MC numbers and USDOT Numbers are similar, they should not be used interchangeably as they serve completely different purposes. ICC MC Numbers have been phased out, but they were required for all interstate moving trucks before 1995. On the other hand, the USDOT number is required for any long distance mover that performs interstate moves. Additionally, the USDOT numbers are a way for the government to identify a particular carrier when collection information for audits, compliances reviews, inspections and other data sets.
What is the difference between an ICC MC number and USDOT number?
Prior to the transfer of its functions to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in 1995, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was the chief federal regulatory body governing transportation vehicles in the US. It was created in 1887 to monitor railroad transportation.
The main functions of the commission were:
- To ensure fair rates and tariffs were in place
- To reduce discrimination and bias against Western farmers
- To put a control on common carriers that would monitor their actions
- To collect information from carriers to better serve the transportation industry
- To regulate early long-distance telephone and telegraph services, which was soon transferred to the Federal Communications Commission
While most of the commission's work has been absorbed by the STB, one particular emblem remains on older fleets -- the Interstate Commerce Commission Motor Carrier (or ICC MC) number. This number continues to be displayed on the cabs and trailers of long-established companies.
Whereas, any commercial vehicle transporting passengers or hauling cargo interstate (over state lines) is required to have a USDOT number and be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
In order to maintain their USDOT number, moving companies need to comply with all FMCSA safety regulations, such as:
- Keeping detailed logs of all trips
- Attending safety training meetings
- Having vehicles inspected
- Undergoing annual log audits
What is the importance of an ICC MC number?
Before the creation of the USDOT number, the ICC MC number was the best way to check a moving company's ability to legally perform interstate moves. Motor carriers that displayed these numbers were scrutinized by the government, so it was easier to launch complaints against them for loss or damage to belongings.
Even though the number was phased out beginning in 1995, many older carriers still display the numbers on their fleet vehicles. Though it is always important to check for counterfeit numbers ICC MC numbers, an authentic number shows that the mover has been operating since at least 1995 and adds credibility to their name.
The regulations for an ICC MC number were very similar to the current regulations for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operating authority:
- Moving companies could receive MC, MX or FF designations, but the most common for household movers are MC, or motor carrier, numbers
- The MC number permitted carriers to perform interstate operations
- The terms of the ICC MC were very strict and dictated the company's required operations, types of cargo and geographical areas of operation
Is every mover now required to have a USDOT number instead?
While not all moving companies are required to attain a USDOT number, any long-distance mover that performs interstate moves needs one. USDOT numbers are not federally mandated for local movers, which means that there isn't a nationwide requirement that all moving companies operate with one.
However, there are 38 states that currently require all movers to be registered with a USDOT number in order to operate their business in the state. The best way to determine if your state requires all moving companies to have a USDOT number is to contact the Department of Transportation.
There are a few simple ways to see if your mover has one:
- Check the FMCSA SAFER system
- Look for the USDOT number printed on the mover's fleet (doors of the cab and again on the rear tractor)
- See if they have it listed on their website
- Call up a representative and ask
While your moving company should be registered with the DOT in its home state, the DOT number should also be registered in any additional states they operate in. Therefore, if you are making a long distance move and will be traveling through multiple states en route to your new home, your movers should be registered in your home state, the state of your destination and all states in between.