Reasons You May Need to Reactivate Your DOT Number

Rick Malchow, Industry Business Advisor

July 28, 2021



There are several reasons a carrier or individual may need to “reactivate” their USDOT number. Often, the reason is tied to the reason the number was deactivated in the first place.


How is a USDOT number deactivated?

A USDOT can be involuntarily deactivated. The most common cause of an involuntary deactivation is no required biennial update was submitted to the FMCSA.


A USDOT can be involuntarily deactivated as the result of a failed new entrant audit.


A USDOT can be voluntarily deactivated. A carrier may have gone out of business, ceased over the road transportation, or paused transportation activity. Whatever the underlying reason, the reason for filing the MCS-150 was stated as “out of business.”


Can a carrier operate with a deactivated or inactive USDOT number?

No, the regulations prohibit an entity from engaging in interstate transportation without an active USDOT number.


Reasons why a carrier may want to reactivate their USDOT number.

  1. A new entrant was placed out of service because they failed their safety audit or failed to submit to a safety audit but want to try again. The first step with this reason is to fix what was wrong in the first place. If due to a failed audit, evidence that the underlying deficiencies have been corrected and safety management controls have been instituted will need to be provided. If due to not submitting to the safety audit, the carrier will not get a free pass the second time around. The new entrant audit will still need to be completed.
  2. A carrier didn’t understand the new entrant process and had their number involuntarily deactivated because they did not submit to a new entrant audit. Any fine that was levied will need to be paid, the carrier will need to reapply and undergo the whole process again.
  3. The carrier voluntarily surrendered their USDOT number by filing a “going out of business” update but wants to operate again. This reason is somewhat common as the nation starts moving again post-COVID. The good news is that it is also the easiest process flow.

When I reactivate, will I get my old USDOT number back?

Likely you will. Of course, the final answer is dependent on whether the number has been reassigned or not. Eventually, USDOT numbers are recycled.


Will I need to reactivate my MC (for-hire authority) number?

If the entity is required to have authority and the authority was also deactivated, the authority will need to be reactivated as well. There is a separate process to reactivate an MC number.


Do I need help to reactivate my USDOT number?

Only you can answer this question. Many carriers choose to ask for help to ensure the path back to full operations is as quick and clean as possible. Working with a trained DOT authority professional can ensure that “the tees get crossed and the eyes get dotted.”


If you need help reactivating your DOT number or have questions about your current status, call us at 888.473.4638 or fill out the lead form below and an Authority Advisor will contact you. 


You may also be interested in:

Obtaining DOT Authority

USDOT Number Triggers New Entrant Audit


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