Determining If Your Fleet Vehicles Need To Have Apportioned Plates

Understanding the laws surrounding IRP-apportioned plates can be challenging. Determining if your vehicles need to have commercial or apportioned plates is not difficult, and you only need to answer a couple of questions to decide whether or not you need them.

Commercial Plates

Commercial vehicles operating within a given state must register for commercial license plates in that state but are not required to have IRP apportioned plates on the vehicle if it only operates in that state. The state DMV (department of motor vehicles) will advise you on the type of commercial plate you need, but for a truck, they are a standard commercial plate, and the fees associated with the registration are based on the vehicle's weight. 

Commercial plates are only valid in the state they are issued in, so if you are running a truck from one state to another regularly, you could be fined because technically, those commercial plates only allow you to run the truck in the state it is registered in. Your commercial registration and taxes go to the state to pay for maintenance on the roads that trucks might damage, so running in another state is not allowed.

Apportioned Plates

IRP (international registration plan) apportioned plates are issued by your state but are specifically for trucks that cross states lines and exceed twenty-six thousand pounds gross vehicle weight or have three or more axles on the power unit. By definition, that is nearly every tractor-trailer unit running across states line in the U.S. and Canada. 

The IRP receives your registration fees when you register the vehicle and distribute them to member states and Canada, so your apportioned plate is valid there. The plate is like having a commercial registration in every state but without registering multiple times. 

Benefits To Companies

The IRP program works much the same way as the IFTA (international fuel tax agreement) that distributes a portion of fuel tax proceeds to member states and countries. The program makes it much easier for each state to receive the tax, and it allows you to pay the tax one time and let the organization make sure it gets where it needs to be. 

If you have a fleet of trucks running nationally, the IRP allows fleet managers to ensure the proper apportioned plates are used on the trucks, avoiding problems and fines for crossing states. The system is the simplest way to ensure each state is compensated for heavy truck traffic traveling over their roads without burdening the drivers or owners with trying to sort out who needs to be paid when it is time to register the truck. 

For more information, visit an auto service, such as Diesel Plates and Permits.