DOT inspections and PUCO regulations- What You Need to Know

March 5, 2010


Many commercial truck owners are confused by the rules and regulations regarding operation of a commercial truck. This is compounded by the 500 plus pages of information in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Pocketbook or the 300 plus pages of information printed by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.  Here is our attempt to simplify the information overload:

First of all there  are some key terms that need to be explained:

Inter or Intrastate transport:  Interstate is defined as crossing state lines. Intrastate is transport within a particular state’s boundaries.

Private or for Hire: If you transport your own property, equipment or personnel, you are a private carrier.  If you transport property, equipment, or passengers and receive compensation you are a for-hire carrier or common motor carrier.

GVW or GVWR: Stands for Gross Vehicle Weight or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This is the total combined weight of the truck, passengers, cargo, fuel, and towed units if the GVWR of the towed unit is 10,001 lbs or more.  The GVWR is located on the left front door or door jam of the truck on the vehicle identification decal or plate.

If you run with Hazardous materials and placards are required on your trucks, the PUCO regulations apply to you and you definitely need an annual DOT inspection.  In Ohio call 614-466-3392 to get your DOT number and register with The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

A brief overview of whether PUCO regulations apply  for non-hazardous motor carriers:
Inter or Intra    Private or For-Hire   Vehicle Weight (GVWR)   PUCCO Apply?  
Intrastate          Private                           26000# or less*                    No
Intrastate          Private                           26,001# or more*                Yes
Intrastate           Private                          10,000# or less                     No
Intrastate           For Hire                        10,001# or more                   Yes
Intrastate           For Hire                        Any                                           Yes
(household goods)
Interstate                        Either               10,000# or less                       No
Interstate                        Either               10,001# or more                    Yes

*GVWR includes  towed unit with a GVWR of 10,001# or more (for example on the second line above, if the customer is towing a 10,001# trailer, the GVWR of the towing vehicle cannot exceed 16,000# or PUCO regulations would apply.

More specific information about the above and guidelines for Motor Carriers of passengers  can viewed/ downloaded here:

PUCO handbook pdf


Fuller Ford performs annual DOT inspections for $89.95. This includes pulling the wheels and performing a complete brake inspection.  The customer will be notified of any violations of PUCO regulations and advised on any brake repairs or other maintenance.  If it is the first DOT inspection, including new vehicles the DOT inspection plus the required fire extinguisher, triangle kit costs $229.95. Fuller Ford will also put the necessary inspection decal on the truck, keep the required files, and notify you every year when your inspection is due.  Not only are you complying with state law, but you are getting a very important and proper vehicle inspection as well.  Please contact Fuller Ford’s service department for an appointment:

%d bloggers like this: