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Iowa DOT Suspends Number Requirement for Private Commercial CarriersIowa DOT Suspends Number Requirement for Private Commercial Carriers

Some farmers may be affected eventually, but DOT wants to gather more information before putting new rule into effect.

Rod Swoboda 1

March 15, 2010

5 Min Read

Farmers are applauding the recent announcement by the Iowa Department of Transportation that the agency is suspending the requirement that intrastate, private motor carriers operating in Iowa have a USDOT (federal) number and have it displayed on the side of their trucks. The suspension of this requirement will allow Iowa DOT officials to conduct further public outreach and education, and to gather input and opinions of the people who would be affected.

Some farmers who haul grain and livestock within the state would have had to comply with the new requirement but now that requirement has been postponed at least for several months while DOT officials carryout a public information and education effort explaining the proposed new rule.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey on March 8 issued the following statement about the decision by Iowa DOT to postpone the numbering requirement: "I heard from farmers during my recent town meetings across the state expressing concern about DOT's number requirement and the impact it could have on some farmers. I commend DOT for suspending this requirement and giving more time for outreach education and to gather public comment. It is important that farmers are able to understand and comment on this requirement before it is put into effect in the state of Iowa."

Farmers need to let Iowa DOT know how new rule will affect them

The Iowa DOT's Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement (MVE) announced on February 26 that it is temporarily suspending the USDOT's number requirement for intrastate, private motor carriers operating in Iowa. Iowa DOT officials say they will provide more information to the public, and gather more public opinion in the coming months before putting the requirement into effect.

The original announcement that Iowa would have to comply with the federal requirement for putting a USDOT number on certain trucks, which would include some farm trucks, was made by the Iowa DOT on Feb. 8, 2010. 

Chief David Lorenzen, director of the Iowa DOT's Office of MVE, explains the Iowa DOT's decision to hold off on putting this requirement into effect:

"Development and implementation of an intrastate, private motor carrier compliance review program remains an important part of the total commercial motor vehicle safety package in Iowa.  However, some stakeholder groups have expressed concerns that deserve further discussion, and it appears that there is some confusion regarding what vehicles and operations constitute commercial motor vehicle operation subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) adopted by the Iowa Code that we first need to address. Therefore, the Iowa DOT has decided to suspend implementation of this component of the USDOT number requirement until it has an opportunity to consider these concerns and undertake appropriate education and outreach."

No date set yet for putting the numbering requirement into effect

No new date has been set for implementation of the numbering requirement.  A decision on whether, and during what time period, to implement the numbering requirement will be made once the Iowa DOT has had the opportunity to discuss the issue further with affected stakeholder groups.

Suspension of this requirement means that intrastate, private motor carriers operating in Iowa will not be asked to obtain a USDOT number between now and Jan. 1, 2011, and will not be issued a citation for failing to display a USDOT number after Jan. 1, 2011.  (A private motor carrier is a person or entity that provides transportation of property or passengers, by commercial motor vehicle, and is not a for-hire motor carrier.  A for-hire motor carrier is a person or entity that provides transportation of goods or passengers for compensation.) 

Additionally, the Iowa DOT will not be issuing warnings, verbal or written, to intrastate, private motor carriers for failing to display a USDOT number.  If you are an intrastate, private motor carrier operating in Iowa and have already obtained a USDOT number, you do not need to cancel the number at this time.  It will not trigger any new or different safety or operating requirements and will remain available to you in the future. You are not, however, required to display the number on any vehicles at this time.

All commercial haulers still required to display their USDOT number

Suspension of this requirement does not in any way affect, waive, or suspend the requirement for intrastate, private motor carriers to operate in compliance with the FMCSR adopted by Iowa Code and made a part of Iowa law.  Likewise, this suspension does not in any way affect, waive or suspend the requirement to display a USDOT number for interstate commercial motor carriers or intrastate, for-hire motor carriers.  All commercial motor vehicles operating interstate or for-hire intrastate are currently required to be marked with the operating motor carrier's name and USDOT number, and that requirement will continue.

If you have questions as to whether you are required to obtain and display a USDOT number, or whether and what part of the FMCSR apply to you, you may contact the Iowa DOT's Office of MVE by mail at P.O. Box 10473, Des Moines, IA  50306-0473; by telephone at 515-237-3247 (Des Moines) or 800-925-6469 (toll free in Iowa); or by e-mail at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda 1

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Rod, who has been a member of the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer magazine since 1976, was appointed editor of the magazine in April 2003. He is widely recognized around the state, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation topics, and has won several writing awards, in addition to honors from farm, commodity and conservation organizations.

"As only the tenth person to hold the position of Wallaces Farmer editor in the past 100 years, I take seriously my responsibility to provide readers with timely articles useful to them in their farming operations," Rod says.

Raised on a farm that is still owned and operated by his family, Rod enjoys writing and interviewing farmers and others involved in agriculture, as well as planning and editing the magazine. You can also find Rod at other Farm Progress Company activities where he has responsibilities associated with the magazine, including hosting the Farm Progress Show, Farm Progress Hay Expo and the Iowa Master Farmer program.

A University of Illinois grad with a Bachelors of Science degree in agriculture (ag journalism major), Rod joined Wallaces Farmer after working several years in Washington D.C. as a writer for Farm Business Incorporated.

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