Differences Between Interstate And Intrastate Trucking

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Differences Between Interstate And Intrastate Trucking

February 15, 2019

The trucking industry continues to be very strong, as more companies than ever find themselves needing to make deliveries fast and get work done. With so many truckers needed, companies are often faced with wondering if they need interstate or intrastate trucking. So what is the difference?

Interstate Trucking

A driver who is licensed for interstate trucking can go across the state and even country lines to make delivers. Transportation for a lot of businesses rely on crossing state lines on a regular basis, so this is the more versatile of the two licenses.

These trips are longer, so there is a greater need for a sleeping area inside the truck or a stay at a local hotel. Most interstate truckers are going to be away from home a few days at a time.

Intrastate Trucking

If the vehicle stays within the same state, it is referred to as intrastate trucking. There are obvious limitations to this, but the trips are usually shorter, so that makes this type of trucking a little bit more affordable.

Most of these trucks tend to be a bit smaller, and they help to handle daily tasks just as much as carrying things around. A lot of business owners have intrastate trucks, especially if they are not really close to any border.

Why Does It Matter?

The biggest reason why the distinction between interstate and intrastate trucking matters comes down to laws. Every single state and country for that matter has its own set of laws and regulations for trucks and drivers. As soon as travel crosses just one border, things get quite a bit more complicated.

Interstate trucking means that each driver needs to make sure that they are compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. The rules and regulations set by them provide a more structured set compared to having to change things quite a bit from state to state.

A few examples of rules and regulations set by the FMCSR include maximum driving time, gross weight and required liability insurance. These can differ from what states say quite a bit.

For Intrastate trucking, the rules and regulations are easier to follow. Each state will provide all of the specifics for people to read through so they know that they are obeying the rules. Instead of having to know a lot of the different rules, just one initial check, in the beginning, is usually enough.

Most Common Interstate and Intrastate Trucks

With so many different types of trucks out there, it might be difficult to pick out interstate and intrastate ones. Nothing is guaranteed, but here are a few examples of each.

Interstate Trucks


These huge trucks are carrying large loads long distances. They can take up a lot of space on the highways, but they are essential for businesses who have so much product to move around.


These trucks can end up being nearly as big as semis, but the flatbed is great for oversized loads. The product it is transporting just needs to be properly tied down before driving. Cars, pieces for construction, housing and more are just a few things that can pop up on flatbeds.

Tanker Trucks

Carrying around any type of liquid usually requires a tanker truck. Not only are these trucks big, but they sometimes carry hazardous materials. People should be careful around them as much as possible, as a collision could be dangerous for all.

Intrastate Trucks

Tow Trucks

When cars break down or need to be forcefully moved, a tow truck is perhaps the best wayward to do it. These trucks are not much bigger than a pickup truck, but they are powerful.

Bucket/Utility Trucks

Some businesses need to lift workers up in the air to get things done. These bucket trucks have a mobile platform matted on the back to do just that.

Garbage Trucks

Each week, the garbage truck drives by in the community. These trucks are on the bigger side for intrastate options, but most of the time, their territory isn’t big enough to need interstate travel.

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