MC numbers. MX numbers. FF numbers. Soon, they’ll all be gone. In the near future, all interstate motor carriers will need just one number to complete the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) registration process. Read on to find out why the change is happening, who is affected, how to maintain compliance, and when to take action.
Why the change?
The current carrier registration process is complex, involving different numbers and processes for different carrier types — and many carriers still submit paper forms. It can be time-consuming to track individual carriers using disparate systems, and the government wants to phase out inefficient paper processes.
The FMCSA’S new Unified Registration System (URS) will streamline and simplify things, merging multiple systems, numbers and forms into a single, electronic online process. Once it launches, all carriers will be identified solely by their USDOT (Department of Transportation) number. This simple approach will make it easier to obtain operation authority and maintain compliance. It will also save an estimated $9 million for the FMCSA and the trucking industry, over the next decade.
Who is affected?
All interstate motor carriers, freight forwarders, brokers, IEPs, HMSP applicants/holders, and cargo tank manufacturing and repair facilities under FMCSA jurisdiction will need to comply.
What action must I take — and when?
- Carriers Currently Registered with the FMCSA:
If you already have an MC USDOT, or FF number, you don’t have to do anything yet. The change is so big and sweeping, the FMCSA is rolling it out in phases — and currently registered entities are not required to make any changes until September 30, 2016. Continue using the current agency forms and processes to apply for additional registration authority, make administrative filings, and update your registration.
- Special Entity Requirements:
If you’re a private HAZMAT or exempt for-hire carrier, you must provide proof of financial responsibility beginning December 31, 2016. In addition, you must have BOC-3 filings in place beginning December 31, 2016. New applicants will begin providing this information September 30, 2016.
- New Carriers:
New registration applicants will be required to use the URS online registration application sooner — beginning December 12, 2015. Because it will take some time to transition from the old system to the new one, only new applicants will be able to use the online URS at this time.
Where do I go to get my number?
Online. Once the URS is in effect, paper forms will no longer be accepted. However, we can’t give you the url yet — it’s not ready. The FMCSA recently published an extension to their original deadline for the website launch, citing the need to implement multiple provisions.
Dates to remember: Biennial updates
Once you begin using the URS, you will be required to update your information biennially (every other year). So, how do you know which year and month to do so? The answer lies in your USDOT number itself. Here are the guidelines:
- If the next-to-last digit in your USDOT number is odd, you must update your information in the odd-numbered calendar year.
- If the next-to-last digit in your USDOT number is even, update your information in the even-
numbered calendar year.
- To determine the month in which you must update, look at the last digit of your USDOT number.
“1” means January, “2” means February, “3” means March, and so on. Oh, and “0” means October. We know what you’re thinking. What about November and December? Those are double-digit months. Well, don’t worry — there will be no updates in those months.
- Special exclusions: If you change your name, address, or form of business, you must update your information within 30 days of the change.
We know — it’s a pain in the bumper. But if you don’t complete the biennial update, your USDOT number will be deactivated.
The URS may seem confusing, but once it launches, we’ll be on the road to a more efficient, simpler process (To learn more, visit the FMCSA website.) At Triumph Business Capital, we’re committed to serving truckers. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date with the latest in the industry!