Interstate vs. Intrastate Trucking

To say the U.S. relies on trucking to deliver goods is an understatement. Each year, trucks in the U.S. ship over 10 billion tons of freight. That includes food products, housewares, fuels, and other essential products Americans use every day. 

When referring to trucking, the terms “interstate” and “intrastate” are sometimes misunderstood, but the differences are important. Different laws and regulations apply to each type of trucking service. Failure to obey those laws could result in high fines, lost contracts, and out-of-service orders. 

What Are the Differences Between Interstate and Intrastate Trucking?

Understanding the differences between these two types of trucking is easier when you have a clear definition of each. 

Interstate Trucking

Interstate trucking involves hauling freight of all kinds across state and national borders. Interstate truckers can deliver goods anywhere in the United States, Mexico, or Canada. 

For federal purposes, interstate trucking includes any freight that is picked up and transported if state lines must be crossed. The important factor is where the freight starts and ends, not where the truck driver starts and ends. For example, a delivery company based in Connecticut may pick up goods stored in Rhode Island, deliver the freight to Massachusetts, and return home to Connecticut. 

The most common types of trucks used for interstate trucking include:

  • Bucket trucks
  • Dump trucks
  • Box trucks
  • Garbage trucks
  • Concrete mixing trucks
  • Tow trucks

The insurance requirements for interstate trucking are overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Coverage requirements depend on the type of freight being moved and the vehicle being used. 

Intrastate Trucking

Trucking companies that are limited to intrastate hauling may only pick up and deliver freight within a single state. They cannot cross state or national borders. 

The most commonly used vehicles for intrastate trucking include:

  • Refrigerated trucks
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Tanker trucks
  • Semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and tractor-trailers

The insurance requirements for intrastate trucking are regulated by each state. 

Similarities Between Intrastate and Interstate Trucking

Though they are regulated by different organizations, intrastate and interstate trucking companies must comply with some of the same requirements. For example, all drivers must meet drug and alcohol testing requirements. If a person with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is arrested for DUI — even while driving their personal vehicle — they will lose their CDL.

If a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol while transporting hazardous materials, their CDL will be suspended for a minimum of three years. Other similar requirements include:

  • Insurance
  • CDL requirements
  • Driver qualifications
  • Rules overseeing the transport of hazardous materials

Accidents involving commercial trucks are serious and may cause wrongful death. The laws overseeing safety regulations, whether federal or state, are written and enforced to protect truck drivers, other drivers, and citizens who may be affected by hazardous and dangerous spills. 

Is Intrastate or Interstate Trucking Safer?

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 5,837 large trucks were involved in a fatal crash in 2022. Both commercial and non-commercial large trucks were included in that statistic, but no designation is given between interstate and intrastate trucking.

Commercial truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries. If you have been involved in a car accident with a commercial truck, seek medical help even if you don’t feel seriously injured. Many injuries may not become apparent for days or weeks after the incident. 

You have a right to legal representation if you were injured by another driver’s negligence, no matter what their licensing credentials may be. Consult with a skilled personal injury attorney before agreeing to any settlement. 

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer for Help After a Crash

Truck accident claims are complex personal injury cases. They often involve multiple parties, large trucking companies, and massive insurance providers. These parties have unlimited resources to investigate the crash and fight your claim.

If you were injured in an accident in Phoenix, AZ, and need legal help, contact our Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.

Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
1221 E Osborn Rd. Suite 201
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 595-5559