DMV: URC Q and A

Questions and Answers on the Unified Carrier Registration Program



Who is subject to the Unified Carrier Registration Program (UCR)? 

Any motor carrier that operates in interstate or international commerce is subject to UCR.  This includes many businesses that were not subject to the old Single State Registration System (SSRS) – private carriers, exempt carriers, regulated carriers that did not travel into SSRS states, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies. Carriers based in Canada and Mexico that operate in the United States are subject to UCR.

What will the UCR program cost?




Number of CMVs owned or operated by exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder

Fee per entity for exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder

Fee per entity for broker or leasing company



$       76

$     76



$     227




$     452




$  1,576




$  7,511



1,001 and above




Why did the 2010 fees increase from last year?
The statute requires the UCR Plan’s board and FMCSA to set a fee structure that enables the participating States to collect the same amount of revenue (almost $108 million) that they collected under the SSRS program for the 2004 registration period.  Given that the UCR Plan experienced a shortfall in revenue that averaged almost $30 million for each of the first three years of the program, the 2010 fees were adjusted from previous years. In addition, in 2008, the statute was amended so that, beginning in 2010, only power units would be counted as qualifying CMVs.

How do I count the number of commercial motor vehicles to report in columns A, B, C, and D of Section 4? 

You have two options:

1. Use the number of commercial motor vehicles listed on the last MCS-150 form you submitted for your USDOT number OR

2.Use the number of commercial motor vehicles you owned or operated for the 12-month period ending June 30.  

Will I need to carry a credential or something in the truck? 

No. You are not required to carry any proof of compliance in the vehicle. You can carry the receipt for payment of the fees if you choose.

I am out of business and don’t need a USDOT number anymore. Should I file the UCR form? 

No.  Fill out items 1-16 of a new MCS-150 form, check the Out-of-Business box at the top of the form, sign and mail it to:  FMCSA, Attn: USDOT Number Application, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

What if I add more vehicles throughout the registration year?

“Supplemental” applications are not required under the UCR.  Vehicles adding during a year will be paid for during the following registration year.  The UCR requires the fee paid reflect the number of CMVs operated in the last reported MCS-150 form or in the preceding 12 month period.  You must denote which criteria you are using under Section 4 of the UCR application.

How does a driveaway/towaway operation (no owned or leased CMVs) fall under the fee structure? 

Since they do not own or lease any commercial motor vehicles, they would have 0 vehicles to report and would pay $76.

Does an INTRASTATE only transporter of hazardous materials (regulated by USDOT) need a UCR?



Does a motor carrier who operates only within a commercial zone transporting interstate freight required to file under the UCRA?


Does a motor carrier who transports interstate property previously exempt from FMCSA required to file under the UCRA?



What is a freight forwarder?

The term “freight forwarder” means a person holding himself out to the general public (other than as a pipeline, rail, motor, or water carrier) to provide transportation of property for compensation and in the ordinary course of its business—

(A) assembles and consolidates, or provides for assembling and consolidating, shipments and performs or provides for break-bulk and distribution operations of the shipments;

(B) assumes responsibility for the transportation from the place of receipt to the place of destination; and

(C) uses for any part of the transportation a carrier subject to jurisdiction under this subtitle.

The term does not include a person using transportation of an air carrier subject to part A of subtitle VII.

What is a broker?

The term “broker” means a person, other than a motor carrier or an employee or agent of a motor carrier, that as a principal or agent sells, offers for sale, negotiates for, or holds itself out by solicitation, advertisement, or otherwise as selling, providing, or arranging for, transportation by motor carrier for compensation.


What is a leasing company?

The term ‘leasing company’ means a lessor that is engaged in the business of leasing or renting for compensation motor vehicles without drivers to a motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder.


What is an e-check?

An e-check is a method of payment by presenting or giving the customers bank account number and bank routing number to electronically charge the customers account.  No special account or process is needed.


How does a company correct the information previously submitted on an MCS 150 form with FMCSA? 

The company should visit FMCSA's Web site and update the system using their previously assigned pin number or print the MCS-150 form and submit to their base state or with FMCSA.


If a carrier is operating only in non-participating states, are they required to file under the UCR Agreement?



Are carriers who register their intrastate vehicles in UCR subject to other state fees?


A seasonal carrier owns no vehicles but leases 25 commercial motor vehicles from Ryder for a 10-day period, 6 trucks for a 10-day period and 25 trucks for a 10-day period.  Since each lease period is less than 30 days, would the carrier fall in the 0-2 category and pay $76. 



What is an interim DOT number?

An interim DOT number is a number assigned to the motor carrier while the application for authority is being processed.

What is a registrant DOT number?

A registrant is an owner/entity who purchases pro-rate license plates for his vehicle in his own name or company name.  A registrant is not a motor carrier.


I have received forms and instructions from my base state.  Am I required to send the information back to them or can I use the Indiana system instead?
Anyone required to file under UCR may use the national web based system hosted by Indiana.  When you go into the system and your physical address is located in a participating state, the system will treat this application as if it was being filed in your base state.  Information and monies will be shared with that state on a monthly basis.  To ensure that the base state is properly selected and will receive your fees, please verify that the physical address is correct before completing your application process.  If your company is not located in a participating state, the system will ask you to make a base state selection.

What happens if I don’t register under UCR?

Enforcement officials across the nation may detain vehicles operated in interstate commerce and subject to enforcement action.  States may also be conducting audits to ascertain proper fees have been paid.  The type of enforcement action will be dependent upon each individual state. 

Is John Doe operating as a motor carrier under the d/b/a John’s Trucking and as a broker under the d/b/a John’s Broker Service required to register twice under the UCR Agreement; once as a motor carrier and again as a broker?  Would the same be true for a corporation such as JD, Inc., operating as a motor carrier under the d/b/a JD Trucking and as a broker under the d/b/a JD Brokerage?

In both instances, there is a single sole proprietor and a single corporation.  That entity would only register once.

Does a person operating two separate legal entities (a motor carrier and also a broker) required to register twice under the UCR Agreement; once as a motor carrier and again as a broker?


I am confused by the various definitions of commercial motor vehicle and how they relate with regard to the UCR Agreement. Would you please explain the differences?

There are two definitions of a commercial motor vehicle that applies to the UCR Agreement.  The first definition is used to determine whether the company files a UCR application due to the change in the federal definition of a motor carrier or motor private carrier.  These definitions reference the transportation of property and passengers using a commercial motor vehicle as defined under section 31132.  The second definition of a commercial motor vehicle used under UCR is taken from section 31101 for the payment of fees.  These two definitions are the same for freight operations and transporting hazardous materials but differ for passenger operations.  Section 31132 is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation, more than 15 passengers (including the driver not or compensation.  Section 31101 uses designed or used to transport more than 10 passenger capacity.  The affect of the difference in the number of passenger design or use between the two definitions may mean that a company is required to file a UCR application but may not have any vehicles to report and pays the low tier fee. 

Are companies that operate fire trucks and other emergency vehicle as part of their business subject to the UCR Agreement?


I own a household goods moving company that provides intrastate transportation under authority from my state, and provides interstate transportation under an agreement with a national van line.  Under that agreement, the national van line trip leases my commercial motor vehicle(s) for each interstate move.  Does my company need to register in the UCR Agreement?

No. However, the national van line that trip leases your commercial motor vehicles would have to register.

Would a tow-able forklift weighing 13,000 lbs need to be registered for UCR?

Yes.  The definition of a commercial motor vehicle is a towed vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of at least 10,001 pounds. 

Is there any specific language concerning school bus operations and when they should be included as part of a carrier’s UCR registration?

If the company providing school bus operation falls within the definition of a motor carrier or motor private carrier in interstate commerce and the passenger capacity falls within the definition of a commercial motor vehicle, the school bus operations would be reported under the UCR program.

Are all auto drive-away companies handled the same?

All drive-away operations in interstate commerce will require the person/company to file an UCR application and pay the lowest fee category.  The drive-away vehicles are the freight and should not be looked at to determine if the freight being moved is a commercial motor vehicle.  

A company operates vehicles owned by the Department of Energy.  The company has it own USDOT number as a private carrier and provides the drivers for the vehicles.  There is no lease agreement and the vehicles have no markings other than a U.S. Government license plate.  The vehicles are being operated across state lines but do not stop at weight stations.  Do they register under UCR?  What fee bracket do they fall into?

The company is treated as a drive-away operation and will file a UCR application.  The fee bracket will be the lowest fee category. 


A carrier has a contract with the government to haul mail from New Hampshire to Massachusetts is he exempt from filing UCR?



Does a carrier using a van to haul hazardous materials need to file under the UCR program no matter what the weight of the vehicle?


Under a long term lease who files the UCR application and counts the number of commercial motor vehicles, the leasing company or the motor carrier?

The motor carrier.


Under a long term lease who files the UCR application and counts the number of commercial motor vehicles, the leasing company that has dealer plates or the motor carrier?

The motor carrier.


What is the Unified Carrier Registration Plan and Agreement?

The Unified Carried Registration (UCR) Plan and Agreement are part of a Federally-mandated, State-administered program. Under this program, States collect fees from motor carriers, motor private carriers, freight forwarders, brokers and leasing companies, based on the number of qualifying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in their fleets.

Why were the fees lowered from the NPRM to the final rule?
The fees were adjusted in response to public comments FMCSA received after the issuance of the NPRM.  The adjustment was made primarily from a change in the bracket shift factor.  In the NPRM, FMCSA considered a bracket shift factor of 25% to account for departures from the expected number of CMVs used to determine the applicable fees. The final rule used a 15% bracket shift factor.  The result is a downward adjustment in fees proposed in the NPRM, although the fees increased in each fee bracket (compared to the previous fees) in order to obtain full funding for the participating States.  

Why did the fee take so long to be approved?
FMCSA received numerous comments for and against the proposed adjustment were submitted that were considered by the agency.  The comment period was extended to ensure that both States and Industry interests had an opportunity to submit their views.  Additionally, the UCR rule was deemed as “significant” meaning that the final rule had to undergo additional review by both the Secretary of Transportation and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget.

What do States do with the UCR revenue?
The revenue generated from this program is to be used for CMV safety and enforcement initiatives as well as administration of the UCR program.

Content Last Modified on 7/30/2015 9:40:45 AM