If you operate a heavy commercial truck in the US or Canada and regularly cross states lines or provinces, you need to have the correct registration on your truck. IRP (international registration plan) apportioned plates are required in the US and Canada for any truck over a specified weight that regularly operates in more than one state or province, so understanding these rules is essential.

IRP Apportioned Plates

The registration fees and taxes you pay every time you register a vehicle go to the jurisdiction that you live or operate in. Commercial trucks routinely cross state lines or, in Canada, operate in several provinces, so registration fees and taxes are not helpful to the additional areas.

In an effort to fix that, the International Registration Plan or IRP was established, and it requires trucks that operate in multiple jurisdictions to register with IRP apportioned plates for the truck. The fees and taxes are distributed through the IRP to all the jurisdictions you operate in evenly, giving each a share of the money. 

The plan is not optional in the US or Canada, and if the truck falls within the weight limits, it must carry IRP apportioned plates on the power unit. If the trailer is owned by the same company or the owner/operator, it needs to be registered the same way. Trailers that are leased are often regulated differently but, in some cases, are also registered this way. 

Base State Regisration

Registering your commercial truck is done in the state you operate out of. However, you will also need to have an account with the IRP. Along with plates clearly marked as IRP apportioned plates, you will receive a card that goes with your registration and lists all the states where you typically operate. For some drivers, that is the entire country, while for others doing dedicated runs, the truck may only need a few states listed. 

The states listed on your card are the ones that are sharing the taxes and fees from your IRP registration. The potential for that to include all the states in the lower 48 and parts of Canada is there for businesses that operate all over the US and Canada. While it may not seem practical to break the registration up into so many small parts, when done with multiple trucks across many companies, it offers the best solution for these jurisdictions to collect taxes to maintain roads or operate weight stations without adding additional taxes to residents in these states.

Additionally, the registration costs on these large trucks are much higher than when you register your car. A commercial truck registration could be thousands of dollars, so splitting those fees makes more sense than doing the same for a vehicle that was only a hundred dollars to register. 

Contact a company like Diesel Plates and Permits to learn more.