Jeff Loftus of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s technology division updated drivers attending its “hot topics” session at the Mid-America Trucking Show on progress implementing the Unified Registration System, which now requires a biannual (every two years) update from motor carriers. Part of the rationale for the system is a clean-up of FMCSA data – the agency has begun deactivating motor carrier authorities that are not being actively updated by set deadlines, depending on the motor carrier. “Starting this month,” said Loftus, for carriers who needed to update in January 2014, if they didn’t, “we’re deactivating their DOT numbers – many of these carriers have been inactive for many years now – we’re cleaning up the data. That’s a big part of the URS.”
Letters are going out to “all carriers that we have an address for,” he added, at least 30 days in advance, with information on “where to update and how to update.”
Knowing when to update is a matter of keeping abreast of communications from the agency and/or just going by the last two digits of your DOT number. The last number indicates the month of the year you need to update, the second to last whether you’ll update on odd- or even-numbered years. Loftus gave the example of a carrier whose DOT number ended 34. “They would need to update in April of 2015,” he said, given the three is an odd number and April is the fourth month of the year.By October 2015, the agency will have eliminated its old paper-based filing system for all applicants and a new registration fee will be applied for new authorities. For now, mail and fax are still accepted for the biannual update as FMCSA continues to develop a new, simplified online registration system. Loftus noted that failure to do the biannual update could also result in fines if discovered during carrier investigations/audits. And contrary to PR from some private entities, the URS update costs nothing. “Know who you’re doing business with,” said Loftus, referencing manufactured confusion between URS and the UCR state-level credentialing system, which does come with a fee. “I’ve seen emails from private firms purposely mixing up UCR and URS to charge extra fees” for completing the free URS process.
Until the new streamlined online process is in place, carriers doing their MCS-150 updates online will still use Safersys.org, click “FMCSA Registration & Updates” to log in with your DOT-issued PIN.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.