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Compliance questions tend to come in waves. The trend of late involves questions from carriers who purchase a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in another state and wonder if they can drive it back to their home state without plates or other operating credentials. The short answer to this question is no. The truck might be new to the new owner, but it’s still being operated “in commerce” and is being driven for a business purpose.

When you purchase a CMV, whether used or new, the truck will need everything that any other CMV would need to be legal on the road. It needs to be marked with the purchasing company’s name and USDOT number, the driver must be qualified to be on the road and have the proper license to operate the vehicle, hours of service compliance, etc. The driver will have to stop at weigh stations along the way and comply with any other rules that apply to operating the vehicle on public roadways.

Registration and fuel taxes

You'll need trip and fuel permits if the truck is a qualifying vehicle under those programs (depending on the type of vehicle, but usually both are required). Sometimes, along with a registration trip permit, the state in which the vehicle was purchased will issue a temporary registration or temporary registration permit so the vehicle has a “plate” of sorts. Then, state-by-state trip and fuel permits can be purchased for the trip home.

Operating authority

Trip permits for interstate for-hire operating authority are not available from states. Carriers must have federal operating authority before conducting any for-hire transportation. Jurisdictions requiring authority registration for interstate exempt and/or private carriers typically do not have temporary permits available for carriers that are not permanently registered.

Unified Carrier Registration

All interstate and international carriers (private, exempt, for-hire) must be registered under the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Agreement. UCR trip permits are not available.

Mileage taxes

A few U.S. jurisdictions (including Kentucky, New York, New Mexico, and Oregon) assess mileage or highway use taxes in addition to fuel taxes. Trip permits are available for carriers not permanently registered.

Heavy vehicle use tax

The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) applies to highway motor vehicles with a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more and includes trucks, tractors, and buses. For these vehicles, you must file Form 2290 and Schedule 1 if a taxable highway motor vehicle is registered, or required to be registered, in your name under any state or District of Columbia, Canadian, or Mexican law at the time of its first use.

Key to remember

Enforcement personnel might congratulate you on the purchase of your new truck, but they’ll also want to see that the truck and driver meet all compliance obligations.