Home Blog Interstate vs Intrastate (Meaning And Differences: All You Need To Know)

Interstate vs Intrastate (Meaning And Differences: All You Need To Know)

What is the difference between Interstate vs Intrastate?

What do they mean?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

What is the difference between intrastate and interstate and why it’s important!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Interstate vs Intrastate Overview

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between “interstate” and “intrastate”?

The term interstate refers to freeways and highways that connect different states.

In other words, when you are driving on an interstate highway, you are on a network of U.S. highways.

On the other hand, intrastate freeways and highways do not cross state lines and begin and end within the same state.

This means that a person driving on an intrastate freeway is driving on a state highway.

The distinction between interstate v intrastate is important for a variety of people or companies particularly trucking companies and drivers of commercial vehicles.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, it provides a definition for interstate vs intrastate commerce.

Intrastate commerce:

If you perform trade, traffic, or transportation exclusively in your business’s domicile state, this is considered intrastate commerce.

Interstate commerce:

If your trade, traffic, or transportation is one of the following, this is considered interstate commerce. Source: 49 CFR 390.5.:

– Between a place in a state and a place outside of such state (including a place outside of the United States)
– Between two places in a state through another state or a place outside of the United States
– Between two places in a state as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the state or the United States

Difference Between Interstate And Intrastate 

It’s important to understand the difference between intrastate versus interstate to better understand its implications.

Let’s see why the nuance is important.

Commercial Driving License

One reason why it’s important to know if you are driving on an interstate versus intrastate highway is to ensure that you get the appropriate license to operate your commercial vehicle.

The laws can be different when a commercial driver is required to travel crossing state borders or when driving within the state.

If a trucking company has not licensed its trucks properly, an accident that may take place in another state can result in significant penalties and financial consequences.

Commercial Driving Insurance

Another important reason to know what’s the difference between interstate and intrastate is to ensure that you get the right commercial driving insurance policy.

Depending on whether or not a commercial driver intends to drive within state borders or not, the insurance coverage, premiums, and terms may be different.

If a driver is insured for motor vehicle accidents within a specific state, then if an accident takes place in another state, the insurance carrier may refuse coverage.

Commercial Driving Accidents

Operating a commercial vehicle or truck on state highways or US highways can also have an impact on the potential laws applicable to a motor vehicle accident.

There are many accidents that take place on highways and freeways across the United State.

Depending on the specific nature of the accident and the location of the accident, in some cases you may have federal laws that apply and other cases state laws that apply.

It’s important to consult with a car accident attorney or truck accident attorney to better understand the implications of an intra vs inter state accident.

Typically, when an accident takes place, the police will indicate in its report whether the vehicles involved in the accident were registered interstate or intrastate.

In essence, the implications of an interstate accident or intrastate accident can be quite different. 

Applicable Laws

Depending on whether you are operating a business on interstate vs intrastate highways, you may be subject to different laws.

For example, if you are performing interstate trucking operations, you are going to be subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association rules (FMCSA), International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), or Unified Carrier Registration (UCR).

On the other hand, if you are operating an intrastate trucking operation, you will be subject to the state laws and must comply with the state regulatory agency requirements.

For example, in Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (TMCSR) apply.

Depending on the applicable laws, the trucking company or driver will need to meet potentially different standards, such as:

  • Maximum driving time by a commercial vehicle driver 
  • Vehicle registration requirements 
  • Driving restrictions based on number of hours on duty 
  • Minimum liability insurance coverage requirements  
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Hazardous materials 

Interstate vs Intrastate Trucking

There are many types of trucks out there traveling on the roads and highways.

Depending on whether or not the truck will remain within state borders or travel beyond, it must be licensed to conduct business appropriately.

Here is a list of trucks that are typically operated intrastate:

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

Here is a list of trucks that are typically operated interstate:

  • Semi-trailers
  • 18-wheel trucks
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Tanker trucks
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Dry vans 
  • Refrigerated trailers (reefers)

Trucking companies, transportation companies, and other companies dealing with commercial driving or transportation in some ways will refer to the notions of interstate commerce or intrastate commerce.

When a company is hauling loads where the pickup and dropoff are within the same state, you are doing intrastate business.

When a company is doing business going across the state or country borders where the pickup is in one state but the dropoff is outside of the state, you are doing an interstate business.

Intrastate vs Interstate Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What is the interstate vs intrastate definition?

What’s the difference between intrastate and interstate?

It’s important to know what interstate and interstate mean so you can better understand their implications.

Interstate refers to the network of highways and freeways crossing state lines (they are United States freeways).

Intrastate refers to the network of highways and freeways that do not cross state lines (they are State Highways).

The distinction is important particularly for trucking companies, commercial vehicle operations, truck drivers, and anyone or company involved in commercial driving.

For example, interstate trucking refers to a commercial motor vehicle that crosses state lines or leaves the United States borders transporting cargo from one point to another (the final destination is within another state or country).

On the other hand, intrastate trucking means that a commercial motor vehicle will only transport loads and cargo or drive commercially within state borders where the final destination is within the same state.

I hope this article provided you with the essentials you need to understand the meaning and the difference between interstate and intrastate and why it’s important particularly in the intrastate vs interstate trucking operations.

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Difference Between Intrastate And Interstate

  • The terms interstate and intrastate sound the same but have a very different meaning
  • Interstate refers to the network of freeways connecting different states or a state to another country whereas intrastate refers to roads and freeways within the same state
  • When a company performs interstate commerce vs intrastate commerce, the legal implications can be very different
  • Trucking companies can have different obligations with regards to commercial driver’s licensing, drug and alcohol testing, minimum financial responsibility, transportation of hazardous materials, hours of service 
18 wheeler accident lawyer
Causes of truck accidents
Commercial driving license 
DOT number 
Electronic onboard recorder 
Fuel records 
IFTA compliance
Interstate carrier 
Interstate license 
Interstate trucking 
Intrastate commerce
Interstate commerce 
IRP compliance 
MC number
Mileage records 
Truck accident claim 
Truck accident injuries 
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Trucking insurance 
Types of truck accidents
What does a truck accident lawyer do
What is a highway 
What is interstate
What is intrastate 
What to do after a truck accident
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Auto accident claims
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Bus accident
Car accident
Cargo truck accident
Commercial truck accident 
Dump truck accident
Fatal truck accident
Garbage truck accident
Head-on crashes 
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Maritime accident claims 
Medical malpractice 
Motorcycle accident claims 
National Board of Trial Advocacy 
Nursing home neglect 
Overloaded truck accident
Rear-end accidents
Rollover accidents
Social security disability claim 
Tanker truck accident
Tractor trailer accidents
Underride accidents 
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Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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