FMCSA warns of bogus DOT licenses, plates

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 3/7/2013

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is issuing warnings to drivers and others in the commercial driving and transportation industries to be on the lookout for bogus license plates and CDLs bearing a DOT endorsement.

The phony plates typically say “US DOT” on top, followed by a Department of Transportation number. One plate depicted in a photograph from the agency’s news release shows the motto “Live Free or Die.”

Duane DeBruyne, an FMCSA spokesman, said the federal government does not have a role in issuing motor vehicle licenses or plates. Individual states have the authority to issue licenses and valid plates for motor vehicles.

“License plates and commercial driver’s licenses are state-issued instruments; the U.S. Department of Transportation does not issue license plates or commercial driver’s licenses,” he said in an email to Land Line. “Individuals who fabricate bogus license plates or CDLs are involved in a criminal activity.  These instances should be reported to the appropriate state law enforcement agency.” 

Last September, the agency did away with its registrant category, and last December switched all remaining USDOT numbers belonging to registrants to inactive status.

DeBruyne said instances of bogus license plates and CDLs purported to be issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, or any other federal government entity, should be reported to the U.S. Department of Justice or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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