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Differences Between Interstate vs Intrastate Trucking

Truck Driver Academy / Blog  / Differences Between Interstate vs Intrastate Trucking

Differences Between Interstate vs Intrastate Trucking

What is the Difference Between Interstate and Intrastate Trucking

Understanding the differences between “Interstate” and “Intrastate” is vital when it comes to trucking. To start, interstate trucking implies that you operate a commercial motor vehicle across state lines while transporting cargo. For example, if you’re picking up a load in Florida and taking it to New York, you would need interstate authority. On the other hand, intrastate trucking means using a commercial motor vehicle within a state’s boundaries. For example, if you’re picking up a load in Northern California, delivering it to Southern California, and not crossing the state line, you would need intrastate authority. 

The Difference Between Interstate and Intrastate is Important!

There are many laws that truck drivers comply with, and it is crucial that you know which apply to you. The laws that oversee the driver, vehicle, and company differ in interstate and intrastate trucking. When involved in interstate trucking, you must follow the rules of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA). When engaging in intrastate trucking, you only need to follow the individual state’s laws.

Interstate vs. Intrastate CDL and Commerce

Intrastate commerce consists of a variety of different truck types, including but not limited to concrete mixing trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, and tow trucks. If you are operating a vehicle like this, you must have a CDL (Commercial Drivers License), and you may only drive the vehicle in one state. Interstate commerce hauls, on the other hand, can involve food and products for stores, construction materials, equipment, and more. While intrastate hauls are common, most trucking companies carry loads past state lines and country borders, making those hauls interstate. 

The items you haul will determine the type of trailer you have and can also correspond to both interstate vs intrastate commerce. Trailer types come in the form of:

Dry Vans – designed to carry palletized, boxed or loose freight, dry vans aren’t temperature-controlled) and can’t carry an oversized shipment.

Flat Bed – these are used for transporting heavy, oversized, wide, and indelicate goods such as machinery, building supplies or equipment.

Refrigerated – meant to maintain the temperature while transporting perishable and temperature-sensitive goods. 

Tankers – are used to transport refined fuels, vacuum, potable and non-potable water up to 10,000 gallons.

The items you decide to haul can determine the expense of your loads. Some trailers are more expensive than others (e.g. refrigerated are more expensive compared to flat beds), but in turn, you could have better chances to truck more profitable loads. Trucking loads seen as higher risk are also more profitable, such as HAZMAT, like hazardous gasses or poisons to waste or radioactive materials. Regardless of the type of items you’re hauling, interstate and intrastate trucking can both be profitable – it all just depends on if you’re looking for a shorter (typically intrastate) or longer (typically interstate) routes.