FMCSA authority revocation anomaly: BOC3 blanket companies cleared out

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Updated Dec 17, 2023

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration doesn't revoke authorities every day. Authority revocation decisions come in batches. Throughout this year, as FTR Transportation Intelligence Vice President Avery Vise pointed out to me recently, there's typically one large-volume revocation day per week. That day is most often Monday, with much smaller numbers of revocations following Tuesday and Wednesday.

The week of Thanksgiving, though, Vise spied an anomaly. 

As summarized in FTR's "Weekly Transportation Update" report last week, not only did the agency revoke just more than 1,000 authorities on Monday, November 20 (a fairly typical level throughout the year), FMCSA added more than 1,700 revocations to that total for the week the day before Thanksgiving, November 22. 

Before you or other media out there start thinking, oh Lord (or oh joy, depending on the perspective), here comes the "bloodbath" and all that "capacity reduction" so many seem to pine after, the huge November 22 batch of revocations comes back to a single event in the agency's ongoing clean-up of its registration system, some of that brought on by acknowledgment of the double-brokering and fraud problems.

This single event, though, has to do with the FMCSA's list of blanket process agent (BOC3) companies maintained at this page on the agency's website. Every entity with motor carrier authority is required to have an agent in each state where they run for the purpose of serving court papers in that state. Blanket process agents are supposed to maintain agents in every state in the nation. Last December, according to longtime transportation attorney Hank Seaton, his own blanket company, Service of Process Agents, Inc., and others he knows were asked "to recertify their agents," which he did. 

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It wasn't exactly a painless process. Some took the opportunity with Seaton's contact to say, "Hey Hank, why don't you find somebody else," he said. Seaton's difficulties aside, according to the FMCSA in response to my questions, unlike Seaton's company, "some BOC3 blanket agent filers never responded, as they are no longer in business, and their filer accounts were locked." 

That action then invalidated the required BOC3 filing of every registered, authorized carrier who used that blanket company. FMCSA hit the affected carriers and/or brokers/forwarders now out of compliance with a so-called Show Cause Order giving the entity "an opportunity to correct the deficiency" within 30 days to avoid having their authority revoked.

[Related: How to get your own authority: Basics of filing, insurance, more]

On Wednesday, November 22, that 30 days came due for an untold number of carriers and others. If the average Wednesday between March and November is anything to go by, the number affected could be as high as 1,400 revocations on top of what FMCSA said was already represented in the big November 22 number, "routine registration revocations resulting from financial responsibility filing lapses" -- that is, insurance and/or surety bonds and the like canceled or expired. 

As a general rule, it's unlikely this affected you, yet there's evidence of mailing-address deficiencies at the agency -- Seaton and Vise both had heard anecdotally about an apparent mail-system issue that addressed some recent-history Show Cause Order revocation-notification letters from FMCSA to the wrong entities. Carriers opened those letters only to see them inside addressed to a different DOT number.  

FMCSA acknowledged those errors, yet also stressed that "FMCSA mailed corrected letters and orders to the intended recipients. No revocations occurred based on the misdirected letters, and all intended recipients were provided with adequate time to respond." 

Furthermore, a list of blanket BOC3 companies available via the top-of-page pulldown menu on the FMCSA's Licensing and Insurance public website shows several blanket companies still operational that have been removed from the list that FMCSA told us was current. Namely, these seven listed at the Licensing and Insurance site do not appear on the updated list: 

  • #1 $1900 BOC3 Today
  • 35 Dollar Process Agent Service
  • Coast to Coast Consortium
  • Motor Carrier Authority LLC
  • Motor Carrier Compliance
  • The Car Shipping Network DBA DOT Processing Agent
  • United Motorcoach Association

Seaton worries this may be creating confusion for some carriers and other entities about the status of their selected blanket BOC3 provider. Get a notice you're out of compliance with the BOC3 filing requirement and take a look at the wrong list? You could be forgiven for seeing your blanket BOC3 company there and assuming everything was well in order. (Asked directly about this with a follow-up question this morning, FMCSA reps did not respond in time for this story.) Further, Seaton worries that many small carriers on the wrong end of the BOC3 issue here may simply have missed the mail and/or allowed it to get lost in the shuffle.

For a one-truck owner-operator on the road for a long stretch, it could be a simple mistake to make. If your BOC3 blanket company has been removed from FMCSA's list, it's worth checking in to make sure you update with a new BOC3 provider.

If you don't see your BOC3 blanket company on this list -- and if you haven't crossed a scale lately or had cause to log into your FMCSA portal account -- it's possible you're out of service already and don't even know it. 

If you've received a revocation-notification letter due to an invalid BOC3 filing or missed such a letter, get in touch with me via email here. 

[Related: Is the 'trucking bloodbath' upon us? Authority revocation numbers paint a bleak, though misleading, picture]

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