FMCSA issues final Unified Registration System rule

| August 23, 2013

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will begin operating the Unified Registration System in 2015, but has set a Nov. 1 compliance date for biennial updates.

The agency published the URS final rule Aug. 23 establishing the new electronic system. The URS is intended to streamline registration, act as clearinghouse and depository of information and save stakeholders $9 million in time and fees over a decade, FMCSA says.

The URS will replace four existing systems and combine 16 forms carriers, freight forwarders, brokers and other entities now use to register and update data.

Carriers already are required to update information every 24 months using Form MCSA-1. Beginning Nov. 1, the agency will issue a cautionary letter 30 days before a biennial update deadline. If the company ignores the warning, the FMCSA will begin deactivating its U.S. DOT number and will consider imposing civil penalties.

The compliance for the remaining URS requirements is Oct. 23, 2015. This later deadline is to provide the FMCSA sufficient time to launch a new website for the system.

The URS also is expected to improve the agency’s enforcement effectiveness for small and medium-sized private and exempt for-hire carriers as investigators will be able to use designated process agents to locate companies and serve papers.

An estimated 16 percent of new registrations that currently only use paper forms will be required to use the URS. Companies without Internet access may use third party processing agents and publicly available Internet access to comply.

The agency is excluding Mexican carriers from the URS final rule at this time. This is because the U.S.-Mexico border is closed to these carriers other than those participating in the cross-border long-haul trucking pilot program.

The URS resulted from statutory portions of the 1995 and 2005 omnibus surface transportation reauthorization act. Additional requirements contained in the 2012 long-term reauthorization law will be addressed at a later date.

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