Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the International Registration Plan (IRP) offices located?

There are two state offices that can process any type of IRP service:

1425 Rock Quarry Road
Raleigh, N.C. 27610
(919) 861-3720
Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F 

6016 Brookshire Blvd.
Charlotte, N.C. 28216
(704) 392-2112
Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F

Effective January 2002, IRP accounts may be renewed on line All new accounts must be handled through either the Raleigh or Charlotte state offices.

The license plate offices listed below are available to assist you with specific IRP applications such as:

  • Add Equipment
  • Duplicate Cab Card
  • Add Jurisdiction
  • Change Insurance
  • Turn in Plate
  • Replace Plate Amend Equipment

Find out more about these

Asheboro Asheville Burlington Fayetteville Elizabeth City
Greensboro Greenville Hendersonville Hertford Hickory
High Point Jacksonville Kinston Lumberton Morganton
Mount Airy New Bern Newton North Wilkesboro  Roanoke Rapids
Rocky Mount Roxboro  Rural Hall Salisbury Smithfield
Statesville Washington Whiteville Williamston Wilmington *
Wilson Winston-Salem       

*Only the Wilmington, Carolina Beach Rd. location processes the IRP, For-Hire transactions. The location on South Kerr Ave. does not.

How will participation in the International Registration Plan help my trucking operation?

Reciprocity agreements historically have restricted your operations in other states to interstate commerce leaving you with the burden of purchasing a full fee plate in each state in which your vehicle(s) must conduct intrastate operations. Under the Plan, your apportioned vehicles may conduct both interstate and intrastate operations. The Plan does not, however, prevent the need to register with other state agencies (such as the Fuel Tax Division) or to have appropriate intrastate authority from each state's regulatory commission to conduct intrastate for-hire operations.

Will participation cost my company more money?

If your interstate operations have been conducted in the past under pure reciprocity agreements, the answer will depend on the relationship of your base state's fees to those of other International Registration Plan states in which you conduct operations. If your base state has a low fee structure and the other states have relatively higher fee structures, IRP participation will result in higher registration costs.

Will International Registration Plan participation reduce the documents that must be carried in each vehicle?

As compared to those vehicles formerly operating under reciprocity agreements the answer is no, but The International Registration Plan will not increase the number of documents either.

When a state joins The International Registration Plan, does the Plan supersede the former agreement(s)?

The International Registration Plan supersedes all former agreements on any of the matters covered by this agreement, but those former agreements are not disturbed by The International Registration Plan as they relate to vehicles not subject to apportioned registration or as they relate to border agreements. The International Registration Plan further does not affect in any way agreements between International Registration Plan jurisdictions and non-International Registration Plan jurisdictions.

Does an apportioned license plate authorize my operations in all International Registration Plan jurisdictions?

Both interstate and intrastate operations are authorized in those states identified on your International Registration Plan cab cards. Operations in other member jurisdictions may be conducted only under trip permits and in Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota operations under trip permits are limited to interstate operations through exceptions to the Plan taken by those states. You must qualify your vehicles under the various fuel use reporting law, regulatory laws, etc.

What is the minimum number of vehicles that may be apportioned in a fleet?

The Plan defines fleet as one or more apportionable vehicles, allowing for single-vehicle fleet apportionment.

Must all my vehicles be apportioned as a single fleet?

No. You must register your vehicles either as a single fleet or in several fleets to meet the nature of your operation(s), except that vehicles must be based for registration purposes (1) where you have an established place of business, (2) where mileage is accrued and (3) where records are kept or can be made available for audit. Registrants having declared more than one fleet may drop any one of the declared fleets at the end of any registration year and include the vehicles of the deleted fleet in other existing declared fleets for apportionment. Registrants having declared, for example, fleets 1,2 and 3 may not drop fleet 3 and declare fleet 4 for apportionment in any of the jurisdictions with which fleet 3 was apportioned. However, rental and or leasing companies would not be subject to the above rule when declaring individual fleets for each lessee.

How do I treat apportionable vehicles in my fleet that are not apportioned?

These vehicles should be full fee plated in their base state and will, if taken on an interstate trip into or through another member jurisdiction, be subject to the trip permit provisions of the Plan.  

How are special-purpose registered vehicles such as farm vehicles treated under International Registration Plan?

Under the provisions of the Plan, restricted plate vehicles, such as those restricted in the commodities they can transport or in the area they may serve, are not apportionable vehicles and are treated under other agreements between jurisdictions.

Are registration fees for trailers and semitrailers as well as power units under the International Registration Plan apportioned?

There no longer exists any jurisdictional (state) requirements for Apportioned Trailer License Plates. The only requirement is that a trailer must have a valid license plate. If you currently have a Permanent Apportioned Trailer License Plate, you may renew that plate as a part of your IRP fleet for a cost of $10.00 with no additional jurisdictional fees due. If you are establishing a new account/fleet, you may elect to purchase Permanent Apportioned Trailer License Plates and maintain your trailers as part of your IRP fleet.

Must I register my equipment in all member states at the same gross vehicle weight?

No. Your gross weight as shown on both your application and cab card may vary from state to state. Enforcement personnel, however, may issue a citation to your vehicle if found operating in any member state at a weight exceeding that for which it is registered in that state. North Carolina may require supporting documentation for any vehicle if the highest and lowest weights requested for jurisdictions registering by gross vehicle weight vary by ten (10) percent or more and may reject or deny registration for those vehicles if the variance does not reflect actual operating practice.

Are there any special problems in the plan that might be encountered in securing overweight and/or overdimensional special permits?

No, except that most states require a unit to be registered for the maximum allowable weight before issuing a special permit. Overweight and/or overdimensional permits for North Carolina may be secured by call (919) 861-3720.

If I anticipate operating in a state during the next registration year that I did not enter in the current year, how can I get these states into my application and on my cab card?

You have two options in this situation. You may ignore the new states on your application and use trip permits or estimate the miles to be traveled in these new states. However, you may be required to pay fees in each added jurisdiction in excess of 100%.

If I anticipate operating in states with no miles listed on my current application and not identified on my current cab cards, how do I qualify my vehicles for these new operations during the current registration year?

Again, you have two options in this situation. You may either operate in the new states under trip permits or file a complete supplemental application, including Schedule B (estimating miles) and Licensing Weight Schedule (listing desired weights), with your base state adding the new states to your current application. In the second case, however, you will be required to pay fees in excess of 100%.

How do I add or delete vehicles or transfer licenses in my fleet during a registration year?

These changes are accomplished by submitting supplement applications.

Is there a procedure for my changing the registered gross weights for my vehicles during the registration year?

Yes. You must file a complete supplemental application and pay additional fees where the gross weight is to be increased.

Must I complete all the columnar information requested on the application forms?

Yes. By completing all the information, you will reduce the possibility of having your application returned under the provisions of a policy adopted by the International Registration Plan administrators in 1977 recognizing that the registration laws in different states are based upon different factors.

What are the insurance requirements for Interstate Motor Carriers?

An interstate motor carrier must have a minimum of 750,000 of liability insurance.

Where do I obtain Interstate Authority?

Federal Highway Administration Office of Motor Carriers Information Management, HIA-10 400 Seventh Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20590 Phone: (202) 358-7110

When I obtain my credentials from Washington, D.C., where do I register my authority?

Please contact the NCDMV International Registration Plan Unit at 919-861-3720.

What are the Insurance requirements for North Carolina Intrastate Motor Carriers?

An Intrastate motor carrier must have a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance.

What type of credentials are required for Intrastate operation in North Carolina?

If you are hauling household goods or transporting passengers please contact the North Carolina Utilities Commission at (919) 733-4035. If you are hauling general commodities please contact the International Registration Plan Unit at (919) 861-3720.

How can I contact the US Department of Transportation?

You may contact the USDOT at (919) 856-4378.

What does "GVWR" mean?

GVWR is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. GVWR is the rating applied by a vehicle manufacturer, and represents the maximum total weight of vehicle, cargo, people, fuel, and other fluids together.

How is GVWR used?

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the method used to determine whether a vehicle is subject to regulation. (i.e. Log Book, CDL requirements,etc.) In the absence of a GVWR, or if the vehicle has been structurally altered to carry more weight, actual gross weight, or license (tag) weight may be used in determining if the vehicle is subject to the federal regulations.

I'm confused. I've heard some people say that a GVWR of 10,001 lbs. or more makes a vehicle subject to the regulations, others say 26,001 lbs. Can you help clear this up?

Vehicles with a GVWR of 10,001 lbs. or more used as part of a business (including a non-profit organization) and crosses state lines, are considered commercial motor vehicles for purposes of most of the safety regulations. This applies to single vehicles (trucks and vans) and to combinations of vehicles (such as a truck pulling a trailer or other equipment). At 26,001 lb. and above GVWR, additional requirements also apply (Commercial Driver's License and Drug and Alcohol Testing). In addition, vehicles that carry hazardous materials and certain passenger carrying vehicles are considered commercial regardless of GVWR.

I've never heard of these regulations before. Are they new?

No. The safety regulations at the 10,001 lb. GVWR level have been in the Federal Regulations for decades.

My truck (or truck & trailer) that I use for my business has a GVWR of 10,001 lb. or more. Do I need a medical examiner's certificate?

Generally, Yes. The medical qualification and exam requirements apply if the vehicle being used in business has a GVWR of 10.001 lb or more and crosses state lines.

My truck (or truck & trailer) that I use for my business has a GVWR of 10,001 lb. or more. Do I need a US DOT Number?

Yes. The power unit must be identified with the name of the company and the US DOT Number, if you cross state lines, or otherwise carry interstate freight (such as air freight) the US DOT Number comes from the Federal DOT. Online Federal DOT Number Application.

My truck (or truck and trailer) that I use for my business has a GVWR of 10,001 lb. or more. Do I need to keep a logbook (Records of Duty Status)?

Generally, yes. Drivers of these vehicles are subject to the hours-of-service limits and record-keeping requirements. A local driver may not need a logbook if all of the following requirements are met:

1. The driver stays inside a 100-mile radius of their work-reporting location. 2. The driver reports to and is dismissed from the same work reporting location each day. 3. The driver works less that 12 hours each day, and drives less than 10 hours each day. 4. The driver has at least 10 hours off duty between each 12-hour on-duty period. 5. Time records are kept for 6 months, showing the time in, time out, and total hours worked each day. Note: The driver is still subject to the 60 hours in 7-day rule or 70 hours in 8-day rule.

My truck (or truck and trailer) that I use for my business has a GVWR of 10,001 lb. or more. What hours-of-service limits apply?

1. The driver may drive up to 11 hours, after having 10 consecutive hours off duty. 2. The driver may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty, following 10 hours off duty. 3. For a company that has vehicles operating every day, the driver may not exceed a total of 70 hours on duty time in the current 8-day period. For a company that does not operate every day, the limit is 60 hours on duty in the current 7-day period.

What are the commonly violated regulations?

For vehicles and combinations with GVWR of 10,001 lbs. or more:

1. No annual mechanical inspection of vehicle Download Annual Inspection Form
2. No medical exam certificate
3. Log book not current to last change in duty status.
4. No stopped vehicle warning devices (reflective triangles)
5. Driver exceeded hours-of-service limits
6. No stop lamps, tail lamps, or turn signals.
7. Brake push-rod adjustments.
8. Slick tires.
9. No fire extinguisher.
10. Traffic violations including speeding and following too close.

What brakes are required?

Operative service brakes on all wheels, a parking brake system, an emergency brake system, and a breakaway braking system. The parking and emergency systems can be combined.

Can I use a radar detector?

No. Radar detectors are prohibited in commercial vehicles 10,001 lbs. or above.

What kinds of regulations are there about alcoholic beverages?

These regulations apply to all commercial vehicles, 10,001 lbs. or more:
1. The driver may not have any alcoholic beverage (including so called "non-alcoholic" beer) anywhere on the vehicle or combination. There are exceptions if the beverages are part of the legitimate manifested cargo, and for bus and limousine passengers.
2. The driver may not operate the vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system.

A driver who violates these regulations will be shut down for 24 hours. The vehicle may be impounded.

My truck has air brakes, but a GVWR of under 26,001 lbs. Do I need a Commercial Driver's License?

No, unless the vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials that require placards. Air brakes alone do not invoke the CDL requirement.

Once I need a CDL, what else applies?

Drivers who are required to hold a Commercial Drivers License are also subject to the Alcohol and Controlled Substance (drug) Testing Requirements of 49 CFR Part 382.

How much weight is a tandem axle allowed to carry in North Carolina?

A tandem axle is allowed 38,000 lb. in North Carolina. Any single axle (including a steering axle) is allowed 20,000 lb.

I have a regular "First in Flight" 4,000 lb. tag on my pickup truck and occasionally I pull a utility trailer to haul my lawn mower. With the weight of my truck, trailer, and mower, exceeding 4,000 lb. would I be in violation of the weight laws?

No. With a "First in Flight" tag on a pickup truck (4,000, 5,000, and 6,000 lb tags are all "First in Flight"), North Carolina law allows a tolerance of up to 9,000 lbs. if you are pulling a trailer.  **NOTE: It is the vehicle owner's responsibility to ensure they purchase a sufficient amount of License Weight to cover the combination weight of the truck, trailer, and load.

What trucks are required to enter a North Carolina Weigh Station?

All trucks (or a truck and trailer combination) with a manufacturer?s GVWR of 10,001 lb or more are required to enter a Weigh Station in North Carolina.

Where can I get more information about the Motor Carrier Safety Regulations?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a Regulatory Guidance section on their website. NOTE: These Questions and Answers are general restatements of the Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and North Carolina Law. Always consult applicable regulations and law specific to your situation.