DOT opens 2018 UCR filing process after delay, fees reduced

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Updated Jan 7, 2018
(Photo by Jim Allen/365Trucking.)(Photo by Jim Allen/365Trucking.)

Starting as early as Friday, independent owner-operators will be able to complete the annual Unified Carrier Registration process for 2018 and pay their annual registration fees, following a roughly 90-day delay in this year’s filing window. The U.S. DOT’s UCR Board has also reduced the fees carriers will pay to register with the DOT, cutting 2018’s fees by 9.1 percent across the board.

Fees will climb slightly for 2019, but will still be 4.6 percent lower than 2017’s fees. All carriers operating in interstate trucking are required to register and pay an annual registration fee each year. Brokers, private carriers and freight forwarders are also required to register and pay.

The agency is scheduled to publish Friday, January 5 a Final Rule establishing the 2018 fees and opening the registration process. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has said it will not begin enforcement of 2018 registration until 90 days after FMCSA publishes the Final Rule, meaning carriers and independent owner-operators will have until April 5 to register and pay their annual fees.

Here are the fees for the next two years, compared to the 2017 fees:

The three-month delay in the opening of the 2018’s registration process came after legal questions swirled around a DOT proposal issued in September that announced the lower fees and bumped the registration date to November 1, 2017. Registration typically begins on October 1 each year and runs through December 31.

The UCR Board faced a lawsuit from the Small Business in Transportation Coalition, who claimed the Board violated federal open meetings laws by failing to give proper notice about a meeting held to decide the new fee structure and the 2018 registration period. Though a court agreed that the Board failed to provide proper public notice about the meeting, it upheld the decisions made by the board at the meeting.

Separately, the state of Texas sought to block the changes due to a squabble with the Board over revenue sharing. The Texas DMV claims the UCR has shorted it more than $33 million in owed revenue since 2007 — about $3 million a year, the state claims.

The DOT was able to proceed with the rule, regardless of Texas’ claims. The state will have to pursue another avenue to rectify the issue, if there is one, the DOT says.

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