Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Commercial Vehicles - General

  1. What is a for-hire motor carrier?
  2. What is a private motor carrier?
  3. What is an intrastate carrier?
  4. What is an interstate carrier?
  5. Do I need a DOT health card?
  6. Do I need a commercial vehicle driver's license (CDL)?
  7. What are the maximum dimensions of a vehicle that I can operate without needing an overweight/overdimension permit?
  8. Who needs a DOT number?
  9. Where can I find motor carrier safety information including safety ratings, inspections, and accident summary data?

Commercial Vehicles - Overdimension Permits

  1. How do I get a permit?
  2. How long will it take to receive my permit?
  3. When do I need a permit?
  4. When am I exempt from getting a permit?
  5. When are escorts required?
  6. When do seasonal load limits or increases take effect?
  7. Where do I find information concerning new laws, rules and regulations about overdimension permits?

Commercial Vehicles

What is a for-hire motor carrier?

A for-hire motor carrier is a person engaged in the transportation of goods or passengers for any kind of compensation: promised, paid, or given.

Persons providing for-hire transportation must obtain the proper for-hire operating authority. Intrastate authority can be obtained from the Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations. Interstate authority can be obtained from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

What is a private motor carrier?

A private motor carrier is a person who provides transportation and is not a for-hire motor carrier. A private carrier uses vehicles to enhance its primary business, which is not transportation.

What is an intra-state carrier?

Intra-state carrier means any person engaged in the transportation of property or passengers where the movement takes place entirely in Minnesota.

What is an interstate carrier?

An interstate carrier is any person engaged in transporting property or passengers between states or countries, or between two places in a state as part of transportation that begins or ends outside the state.

Do I need a DOT health card?

A driver is required to have a current and valid DOT health card (medical examiner's certificate) if operating a vehicle that is:

  • Any size, and operating for-hire in intrastate commerce, unless providing transportation described in MN Statute § 221.025, clauses 6, 10, 12, and 13;
  • Any size, and transporting hazardous materials of a type or quantity that requires the vehicle to be placarded;
  • Over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and operating in interstate commerce;
  • Over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) or GVWR and operating as a private carrier in intrastate commerce;
  • Designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and operating in interstate commerce;
  • Designed to transport 8 or more passengers, including the driver, and operating for-hire in intrastate commerce.

Do I need a commercial driver's license (CDL)?

A driver is required to obtain a CDL to operate any of the following vehicles:

  • A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of more than 26,000 pounds;
  • A combination of vehicles with a combined GVW of more than 26,000 pounds; with a trailer of more than 10,000 pounds GVW
  • A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more people including the driver;
  • Any size vehicle that requires hazardous materials placards; or
  • Any size vehicle outwardly equipped and identified as a school bus.

A driver is not required to obtain a CDL to operate any of the following vehicles:

  • A farm truck when it is:
    • Operated by the farmer or immediate family member, or an employee of the farmer:
    • Used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies, including hazardous materials to or from a farm;
    • Not used in a contract or common carrier operation; and
    • Used within 150 miles of the farm
  • An authorized emergency vehicle of any size
  • A recreational vehicle operated for personal use

What are the maximum dimensions of a vehicle that I can operate without needing an overdimension permit?

  • Height: 13' 6"
  • Width: 8' 6" This excludes rearview mirrors or temporary load securement devices that may extend an additional three inches on each side of the vehicle or load.
  • Length: Maximum lengths for various vehicles are:
    • Single motor vehicle: 40'
    • Mobile crane: 48'
    • Each trailer or semi-trailer of a twin trailer combination: 28'6"
    • Trailer of a two-vehicle combination: 45'
    • Semi-trailer of a two-vehicle combination: 48'
    • Semi-trailer of a two-vehicle combination, if the distance from kingpin to the center of the rear axle group is 43' or less: 53'
    • Twin trailer combination, drive-away saddlemount combination, and drive-away saddlemount vehicle transporter combination: 75'
    • Truck-tractor with semi-trailer combination and all other two-vehicle combination: 75'

Who needs a DOT number?

Where can I find motor carrier safety information —including safety ratings, inspections and accident summary data?

This information can be found on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations (FMCSA) Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System (SAFER) Website at www.safersys.org.

 

Overdimension Permits

How do I get a permit?

You can get a permit in any of four ways:

  • Online 24/7
  • Permit Service
  • Fax
  • Walk-in

How long will it take to receive my permit?

Generally 1 business day.

However, three (3) or more business days are required for processing applications that need special handling. (Special handling is defined as application(s) requiring, but not limited to the following: district review, route survey, and most self-propelled vehicles)

When do I need a permit?

An oversize and/or overweight permit is required when:

  • An overall loaded width exceeds 8’6”
  • An overall loaded height exceeds 13’6”
  • An overall loaded length exceeds 75’0” on combination vehicles
  • An overall loaded length exceeds 40’0” on single vehicles
  • When the overall GVW exceeds 80,000 lbs.

When am I exempt from getting a permit?

  • When hauling utility poles (over-length only)
  • Driving or towing Implements of Husbandry (e.g. farm equipment) at speeds less than 30 miles per hour. No interstate travel is allowed.
  • Through a Governor's Order or Disaster Relief

When are escorts required?

Generally, escort vehicles are require when overall widths exceed 14'6", or under the following conditions:

  • On any divided roadway, or when overall lengths are between 95’0” and 110’0”, one rear escort is needed.
  • On any non-divided roadways, or when overall lengths exceed 110', a front and rear escort is needed.

When do seasonal load limits or increases take effect?

See the seasonal load limits page.

Where do I find information concerning new laws, rules and regulations about overdimension permits?

Please refer to: