What is the difference between Interstate and Intrastate?

Interstate commerce means the goods have traveled into or through another State or country or someone has gone into another State or country to perform the service. Even if your truck does not leave your State, but the goods have or will, the transportation is usually considered to be in interstate commerce. Interstate commerce means the goods have left their home State or the person performing a service has left his or her home State.

If you operate in interstate commerce once in a while, you are not required to comply with the Federal hours-of-service regulations all of the time. You must follow the Federal hours-of-service regulations while you are operating in interstate commerce. At the point you start driving in interstate commerce you must have logs with you for your last 7 days (unless you were not required to log).

You must also follow the Federal hours-of-service regulations for a short period of time after you finish operating in interstate commerce. If you were using the 60-hour/7-day schedule, you must follow the Federal hours-of-service regulations for the next 7 days after you finish operating in interstate commerce. If you were using the 70-hour/8-day schedule, you must follow the Federal hours-of-service regulations for the next 8 days after you finish operating in interstate commerce.

Intrastate commerce means the goods and services stay within a single State. The goods and services do not leave their State.

If you are operating in intrastate commerce only and are not hauling hazardous materials requiring a placard, the Federal regulations do not apply to you. However, most States have regulations that are similar or identical to the Federal Regulations. To determine what State safety requirements you must follow, you should contact the appropriate state agency. This is usually the State police, highway patrol, or an office within the State’s department of transportation.

Sometimes your truck may be empty. In these cases your truck is still considered to be in commerce because it is being used to support a business. Even if it is empty, you are considered to be operating in interstate commerce, if you go outside of your State. If the truck is empty and you are operating inside your State, you are operating in intrastate commerce.

What are the driving ages for CMVs?

INTERSTATE: According to the FMCSA regulation 391.11(b)1 “Is at least 21 years old” for drivers of interstate commerce.

Neither the CDL requirements in part 383 nor the FMCSRs in parts 390-399 require drivers engaged purely in intrastate commerce to be 21 years old. The States may set lower age thresholds for intrastate drivers.

INTRASTATE: The SCdmvonline.com states:  You must be at least 18 years of age to drive within the State of South Carolina and 21 years of age for interstate driving.

What is the Hand-held Cell Phone Ban

Official Effective Date: Tuesday, January 3, 2012

(South Carolina automatically adopts USDOT regulations by the FMCSA once they are in final form and published in the Federal Register.)

On December 2, 2011, the FMCSA and PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) published their Final Rule to restrict the use of hand-held cellular phones by commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), violation of which will subject drivers and carriers to stiff fines and penalties. This Final Rule, which goes into effect January 3, 2012, operates to amend both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs). This is on the heels of FMCSA’s January 2010 announcement of a Guidance to 49 CFR § 390.17 which purported to ban testing as an agency interpretation of a regulation governing equipment brought into the vehicle and last September’s rule banning of texting by CMV drivers. Immediately after the announcement of the FMCSA’s final rule, the National Transportation Safety Board called for a nationwide ban on all cell phone use in all vehicles.

What is the Final Rule? (View the rule in its entirety.)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Ban on Hand Held Cellular Phones

Q: What is the effective date of the Mobile Telephone rule? A: The effective date of the rule is January 3, 2012.

Q: Are wired or wireless earpieces allowed? A: Yes. Hands-free use of a mobile telephone is allowed using either a wired or wireless earpiece, or the speakerphone function of the mobile telephone. Wireless connection of the mobile telephone to the vehicle for hands-free operation of the telephone, which would allow the use of single-button controls on the steering wheel or dashboard, would also be allowed.

Q: Are commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers allowed to use push-to-talk mobile communications equipment while driving? A: Yes, provided the driver does not reach for, dial, or hold the actual mobile telephone in his/her hand while driving and the driver is able to touch the button needed to operate the push-to-talk feature from the normal seated position with the safety belt fastened. Generally, the use of this type of communications equipment does not require drivers to take their eyes off of the forward roadway because the button used to enable the driver to communicate can be operated from the normal seated position with the safety belt fastened. For example, if the mobile phone is mounted in a cradle or similar device near the driver, or there is a remote push-to-talk button near the vehicle controls to allow the driver to communicate without reaching for, dialing, or holding the actual mobile telephone in his/her hands while driving, the equipment may be used.

Q: Are holders of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) subject to the regulation only when driving a CMV, as defined in 49 CFR 383.5, or any vehicle? A: CDL holders are subject to the Federal rule only when driving a CMV.

Q: What drivers are covered by the Federal rule: intrastate or interstate? CDL holders? All CMVs? A: This Federal rule covers both, drivers of CMVs in interstate commerce, and also any drivers who operate a vehicle transporting a quantity of hazardous materials requiring placarding under 49 CFR Part 172 or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR part 73.

If a CMV driver is employed by a State or a political subdivision of a State (e.g. county, city, township, etc.), FMCSA safety regulations do not apply, even if the driver is engaged in interstate transportation. But if a CMV driver employed by a State or a political subdivision of a State is operating a vehicle that requires a CDL, the applicable State traffic laws would govern (e.g., Maryland’s prohibition on the use of hand-held phones). The States have 3 years to implement by State law the disqualification provision.

Q: What is required of the employer in terms of company policy or training? A: The rule does not require motor carriers to establish written policies in terms of company policy or training programs for their drivers. However, employers are prohibited from allowing or requiring their drivers to use hand-held mobile phones. A motor carrier may establish policies or practices that make it clear that the employer does not require or allow hand-held mobile telephone use while driving a CMV in interstate commerce. The carrier is responsible for its drivers’ conduct.

Q: Is dialing a phone number allowed under this rule? A: No. Dialing a mobile telephone while operating a CMV in interstate commerce is prohibited by the rule. A driver can initiate, answer, or terminate a call by touching a single button on a mobile telephone, earpiece, steering wheel, or instrument panel – comparable to using vehicle controls or instrument panel functions, such as the radio or climate control system.

Q: Can a driver reach for a mobile telephone even if he/she intends to use the hands-free function? A: No. In order to comply with this rule, a driver must have his or her mobile telephone located where the driver is able to initiate, answer, or terminate a call by touching a single button while the driver is in the seated driving position and properly restrained by a seat belt. If the mobile telephone is not close to the driver and operable while the driver is restrained by properly installed and adjusted seat belts, then the driver is considered to be reaching for the mobile phone, which is prohibited by the rule.

Q: Are tow trucks exempt? A: No. The interstate operation of tow trucks that meet the definition of a CMV are not exempt. Tow trucks, however, are exempt when responding to police emergencies in accordance with 49 CFR 390.23(a)(3).


All about SC Commercial Driver Licenses

​To find out the following visit the SC Department of Motor Vehicles Web Site:

  • CDL Class Licenses
  • CDL Endorsements
  • CDL Restrictions
  • Social Security Verification
  • Getting a CDL Beginner’s Permit
  • Getting Your Initial Commercial Driver License
  • Transferring Your CDL License From Another State
  • Renewing Your CDL
  • CDL Drug and Alcohol Testing
  • Truck Training Schools
  • CDL Knowledge Test
  • CDL Skills Test
  • Where to Take CDL Skills Tests
  • Commercial Vehicle Configurations

What are the Interstate Hours-of-Service (HOS) Regulations

Who Must Comply Most drivers must follow the HOS Regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle, or CMV.

In general, a CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce and fits any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • A vehicle that is involved in Interstate or intrastate commerce and is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards is also considered a CMV

HOS Final Rule

The Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule [Download PDF Version] was published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2011. The effective date of the Final Rule is February 27, 2012, and the compliance date of selected provisions is July 1, 2013. The links below provide more details regarding the HOS Final Rule:

Download HOS Reference Materials

Summary of Changes of HOS Final Rule Published in December 2011

Download the PDF Version of the table that summarizes the differences between the prior HOS Rule and the new HOS Final Rule published in December 2011:

Summary of HOS Regulations

Download the PDF Version of the table that summarizes the HOS regulations for property-carrying and passenger-carrying CMV drivers.

NOTE: One of the little recognized changes in this final rule was to the definition of a “On Duty Time”.

On Duty Time is defined in this final rule as:

All time from the time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work until the time the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work.

In part the rule state that On Duty time shall include:

All time in or on a commercial motor vehicle, other than:

    - Time spent resting in or on a parked vehicle, except as otherwise provided in Section 397.5;

    - Time spent resting in a sleeper berth; or,

    - Up to 2 hours riding in the passenger seat of a property-carrying vehicle moving on the highway immediately before or after a period of at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth

Simply stated, if a driver has no other responsibilities, a driver may be in a CMV, which may or may not have a sleeper berth, and record his/her time as off duty time.  This would not extend the 14-hour shift limitation unless the period off duty is at least 10 consecutive hours, but would not add time to the aggregate time accumulated on duty in an 8 day period.

How do I obtain a U.S. DOT Number?

Help me Register

The step-by-step registration guide helps you:

  • Determine if you need a USDOT Number, Operating Authority (MC Number), Hazardous Materials Safety Permit, or Cargo Tank (CT) Number
  • Find out what forms and processes you need to complete
  • Determine what costs are involved
  • Find out which regulations apply to you
  • Fill out online forms

Start the Step-by-Step Registration Guide

Register Now without Help

Go directly to the online registration system to:

  • Submit New and/or Additional Registration
  • Complete partially completed forms (using your tracking number and PIN)
  • Update your registration (biennial update, name changes, safety permit, etc.)

Start the Online Registration without Help

More questions regarding registration and licensing?  Click Here.


(For Initial and Renewal Applications)

As a motor carrier applying for either a new or renewed Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (HMSP), it is important that the information in your Company Safety Profile correctly reflects your performance. This is especially critical in the determination of your company’s Driver, Vehicle and Hazardous Materials Out-of-Service (OOS) inspection rates. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends that you carefully review your company’s information for accuracy, prior to submitting your application, and pay particular attention to your Vehicle OOS rate to ensure that Hazardous Materials OOS inspections are not being counted in both the Hazardous Materials and Vehicle OOS calculations. Should you find information in your Company Safety Profile that you feel is in error and impacts your ability to obtain a HMSP, please contact the Hazardous Materials Division at FMCSA for assistance in resolving your issues at 202-385-2400.

Helpful sites to aid in your search for company information are:

Obtaining a SC Intrastate DOT Number

Process for obtaining a South Carolina Intrastate DOT Number

The Department of Public Safety, State Transport Police Division implemented a new Motor Carrier Registration Program for Intrastate motor carriers. Your company is now required to obtain a SC USDOT number and display it on all your commercial motor vehicles (CMV’s) if your company operates a CMV that:

(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (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 material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.

This requirement is not limited to “trucking companies”. A motor carrier is any commercial enterprise that uses such vehicles in the furtherance of its business. If your company operates a commercial vehicle, you are subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations,  

Definitions for Intrastate and Interstate:

1.  Intrastate - operates within the State of South Carolina and does not transport freight with shipping papers indicating origins outside South Carolina

2.  Interstate - operates in multiple states (crosses State line) and/or does transport freight with shipping papers indicating origins outside of South Carolina..

Once you receive the DOT number, it must be affixed on both sides of the power unit, in a color contrasting with the background of the vehicle, and the numbers must be large enough to be legible from fifty feet from the vehicle.

If you operate outside South Carolina, transporting persons or property across state lines, including international boundaries, or within South Carolina as part of a through movement that originates or terminates in another state or country, you must obtain an interstate USDOT number.

The intrastate DOT number will be clearly recognized by the “SC” suffix. The information below is provided to assist you with this process.

To register on-line for an intrastate (South Carolina) DOT number visit FMCSA’s website located at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/. There is no fee for applying for a SCDOT number, however a Visa or MasterCard must be provided to ensure a digital signature is on file for the official record. Applications must be completed in their entirety. Carrier profile updates, including added or deleted equipment or drivers, changes in cargo classification or company officers/owners, or changes in address or phone numbers of the motor carrier, must be done as they occur, but in all cases an update is required every two (2) years. If you should have any questions, or experience problems completing the on-line DOT number process, you may call, 1/803-896-5500 or e-mail scdotnumber@scstp.org for assistance.

Once your application is received and processed, a letter assigning a South Carolina USDOT number, along with information on how it is to be displayed on all applicable vehicles, will be returned to you. This process will take approximately 6-8 weeks.

Failure to register and obtain the above SCDOT number and clearly display the number on all trucks owned or operated by the carrier, will subject the carrier to penalties to include:

•  A $100.00 fine per occurrence for operating a vehicle without the SC DOT number displayed.

If you have difficulty with any of the information provided or do not have on-line computer access, and are applying for an intrastate number only, you may request a hard copy of the information by mail, or telephone. Please be sure to provide your mailing address and contact information.


Should you have any questions, contact:

Department of Public Safety

State Transport Police

10311 Wilson Blvd. / P.O. Box 1993

Blythewood, SC 29016

Telephone:  803-896-5500     Fax: 803-896-5526

Or email: scdotnumber@scstp.org