What Does ICC Stand for in Trucking?

Understanding rules and regulations are part of daily life. However, we are not all made to understand the Law or Act like it is no big deal.

This is why it is crucial to explain as precisely and simply as possible. It will help the public and working communities live within a safe boundary at all times.

Now let us focus on trucking and the ICC regulation. The abbreviation might seem like a hotshot amidst all the words and transport conditions.

To be honest, it is a big deal, and we will lay it all out before you in the most rudimental way. The elementary step is to learn what ICC actually is.

What Is ICC?

The ICC is a former regulatory commission that allowed the freight truck drivers to move through the interstate of the U.S. As a result, even the movers had to bear this credential as law-abiding travelers.

But what does ICC stand for in trucking? It is the acronym for Interstate Commerce Commission. The role consists of a figure that is often known as the ICC MC Number.

Truckers must display the number on the vehicle. It indicates that the carrier is lawfully regulated by the agency. Learn What Is CPM Trucking? & What Is FSC in Trucking?

When Was ICC Commenced?

It all began in 1887 when the carrier transportation included railway rather than today’s trucking. The Interstate Commerce Act, during the year, acknowledged the railroad industry could not run smoothly without a proper federal law.

Hence, the formation of an agency was in much need to monopolize the shipping rates. This is how ICC was formed under ICA. The agency’s job was to monitor the railroads so that the public does not violate the then-new rules.

It was later, at the beginning of the 20th century, when the ICC was revised. However, it was around 1936 when the trucking and bus lines had to follow the regulations officially.

This newer version included such large motor vehicles as the common carriers.

Why Was ICC Created?

It was a different era in the 19th century or earlier. Lesser laws to follow meant fewer obligations and riots during those days. Unfortunately, this limits the flexibility of mutuality. Below are the reasons why ICC had to come into shape.


The main cause of establishing the regulation is the unfairness of the transportation fares. There has been the rise of malpractices and abuses by railway companies.

It was difficult for many businesses to pay outrageously high rates implied by the rail companies. Besides, small businesses were often mistreated by the power when they attempt to stand against the competition.

Rising Concern

There was the ridiculous notion that dictated long-hauls would pay less while short-hauls would have to face higher costs. It was a concerning time when individual businesses had extreme difficulties transporting goods to the neighboring states.

After years of outcry and pressing of the public, the ICC was finally imposed to balance the revenue by disbanding the discriminations.

Is ICC Number Useful in Trucking?

Back to the trucking, yes, an ICC MC number was pretty significant to continue trucking lawfully.

To the Public

You can take the moving company as an example. The fact that you are handing over your belongings and valuables in a carrier is quite daunting.

But if you do it knowing the vehicle and the driver has certified credentials, you will feel at ease right away. This is why ICC numbers are useful, which records the transporting history and monitors everything overall.

It also means the company you have hired to move things is highly professional and works by the book.

To the Trucker

Now, how useful is this number to the truck driver? For a start, he/she can rely on the company that went under the regulatory system. Plus, having a credentialed carrier will allow the driver to travel interstate without any hassle.

It will also give the person access to gain more experience all over the country. The customers and the manufacturing industries will trust him/her and the company.

Is ICC Still Valid?

This is where the bad news begins. Unfortunately, the current Surface Transportation Board (STB) took over ICC and has made it non-operational since 1995. This organization administered USDOT, which assumes the functions in the stead.

Here, the for-hire carrier drivers will not have to display the ICC number. However, the responsibilities of safe conduct remain in various government units.

There are still a handful of old trucks with ICC MC Numbers, though it is encouraged not to display it anymore. The regulation practically began phasing out from 1995. You will hardly find any exhibited on the moving trucks in the 21st century. The abolition of the Act was permanent, and it remains so to this date.

Yet, ICC credentials are not entirely invalid to the law. Even though the government will not pass it due to the new Act, it still does not contradict the law to drive large trucks with these numbers.

In a way, it is not utterly useless at all, even after all these years of defunctness.

Are ICC and US DOT the Same in Trucking?

Of course, there are slight differences between the two Acts. Otherwise, there would not have been a relocation of the agency. The main thing one has to keep in mind when trucking is that both are important for the job.


There is an MC number in these carriers that works as an identifier to the federal government. It allows regular hauling from one state to the other at a reasonable transport rate.

The ICC mainly focuses on the trucking tariffs and other charges without discriminating the distance covered. Its regulations highly granted the movers to drive across the country without facing any issue with charges.

In short, the ICC numbers concentrate more on the fees and such. It also works as credentials to the trucking company, giving it a legit image.

Although ICC discontinued most of its functions long ago, some of them have been transferred to the new agency that has formed US DOT. So a few roles have not technically disappeared.


DOT numbers, on the other hand, are the numbers that the agency has set. The carrier and the driver must meet the conditions and comply with the rules in every aspect.

All truckers should acknowledge and understand what these numbers mean. Usually, DOT indicates further on the safety issues than the tariffs.

The rules often include cargo type restrictions, passenger number permits, alcohol/drug tests, security of the loads, keeping records, inspections, etc.

It still validates state-line moving but does not work like a credential. The main focus here is to adhere to the rules to relay a safe journey all over the country.

One has to keep a record of everything, which has become swifter due to the electronic devices. The US DOT is more like an identifier than a credential.

Final Words

So, before you get to the trucking, check whether it is ICC or US DOT you will have to apply for. It is, however, in the hand of the agency to determine the decision.

In any case, permission is indispensable that regulates cargo transports in trucking. Make sure you are well aware of the rules. Safe journey!



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