A division of the Department of Transportation, the purpose of the FMCSA is to keep injuries and commercial driver road incidents to a minimum.

Transportation companies that meet certain criteria must apply for operating authority, also known as an MC number, according to the FMCSA. This is in addition to a DOT number, which is required by most trucking businesses if they meet the necessary requirements. 

If your company transports passengers across state lines, regardless of whether you’re compensated or not, you must have an MC number. This also applies to companies that transport federally regulated commodities.

What’s the Vetting Process for an MC Number?

While applications for FMCSA operating authority are normally approved within 20 to 25 business days, the process could be prolonged for a couple of reasons. For instance, if there’s an error on the application or an additional review is needed.

The vetting process ensures that operating authority applicants meet the necessary requirements and demonstrate the ability to comply with federal laws and regulations. 

During the application process, applicants are required to provide their DOT number, business location, contact information, and so forth. Since applying for an MC number is a very rigerous process, you’ll be asked to provide documentation confirming the information you’ve submitted.

It’s important to note, you’ll be charged an application fee before you’re given your MC number.

How Are Applications Processed?

When deciding whether or not to approve an application, the FMCSA considers a number of factors, such as:

  • Past and/or existing violations (the degree and severity of the violations will be a crucial determinant, they’ll take into account any casualties or injuries that occurred as a result)
  • Failure to comply or an utter disregard for regulatory and statutory requirements
  • The existence of effective safety protocols
  • Disciplinary and/or corrective actions

How to Check Your Application Status

To check the status of your operating authority application, navigate to the SAFER portion of the FMCSA’s website. After that, you’ll be prompted to select the MC/MX number option. From there you’ll enter your MC number and hit search. Once you’ve done that, click “HTML” and scroll to the bottom of the page. You’ll see a button titled “Authority History.” This will be the place to check for any updates.

The FMCSA will usually notify you by mail 3 to 4 business days after you’ve been issued an MC number. If you haven’t been notified in 10 days you should contact the FMCSA directly.  

Bottom Line

It should be noted that you aren’t permitted to operate your commercial motor vehicle during the vetting process. Failure to adhere to the rules could result in serious consequences.

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