How To Properly Mark A Commercial Motor Vehicle

Navigating the world of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) entails its own set of rules and guidelines.

One such that every CMV operator should be familiar with is the marking requirements. 

Properly marking a CMV not only ensures compliance with regulations, but also safety and professionalism on the road.

Understanding the Regulation

The marking requirements for CMVs are stipulated in § 390.21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

For those unacquainted, this might seem like a complex set of rules, but once broken down, you will find that they are actually pretty straightforward:

Essential Markings for your CMV

Every CMV must have specific markings – markings, which need to be clearly displayed on both sides of the vehicle. These include:

  1. The Legal or Single Trade Name: This refers to the name of the company that operates the vehicle. Whether you’re an individual owner-operator or a fleet manager of a large company, the name that is officially registered should be clearly and prominently displayed.
  2. The USDOT Motor Carrier Identification Number: This number is not just any regular identification number, but one that is specifically issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Preceded by the letters “USDOT”, this identifier serves as a unique reference for the vehicle and aids in tracking and regulatory checks.

The Importance of Presentation

While the markings themselves are, obviously, essential, how they are presented is equally as vital:

Contrast: The aforementioned letters should be in “sharp” contrast to the background. This means that if your vehicle is a dark color, the lettering should be in a light color and vice versa. The aim here is visibility; and a stark contrast ensures that the markings are clearly visible, even from a distance.

Legibility: This might sound obvious, but you would be surprised how often it’s overlooked. The markings should be clearly legible from a distance of 50 feet during daylight hours. This is not just a regulatory requirement, but also crucial for safety. Properly marked vehicles can be easily identified by fellow motorists and authorities alike.

In Conclusion:

Marking your CMV appropriately is not merely about ticking off a regulatory checklist. It’s a practice that embodies responsibility, safety, and professionalism. By ensuring your vehicle meets the §390.21 guidelines, you are not only adhering to the law but also reinforcing a commitment to road safety and industry standards. 

When you’re out on the road, your vehicle represents you.

Make sure it portrays you in a good light.