The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has completed a years-long effort to streamline and simplify its registration system.
In a notice posted Friday, the agency spelled out the changes that will take effect when the new regime kicks in a little over two years from now.
Besides consolidating four separate identification systems into one, the new Unified Registration System takes the registration process online and improves public access to carrier data.
One of the agency’s goals is to keep better track of “chameleon” carriers that evade enforcement by re-registering under a different identity.
The new system covers for-hire and private carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, intermodal equipment providers, hazmat carriers, cargo tank facilities and Mexican carriers operating in commercial zones. Mexican carriers operating in the cross-border long-distance pilot program are not included.
Registration will be handled through a new MCSA-1 form. Carriers that already have a DOT number won’t need to use the form until they have to renew their registration.
All registrations must be done online, using a new system that guides the applicant through relevant sections – a time and money saver, the agency says.
A new applicant will get an inactive DOT number that will remain inactive until the agency determines the applicant can meet regulatory requirements
Registration must be updated every two years, or when the business changes its name or address.
The agency will identify businesses by their DOT number only. It will no longer use the Motor Carrier number that identified non-exempt for-hire carriers and brokers, the Freight Forwarder number or the MX number assigned to Mexican carriers operating within commercial zones.
These businesses may leave those numbers on their equipment and use them for advertising or marketing, but the agency asks that they leave them off new or repainted vehicles.
There is a new fee structure. New applicants will be charged $300 to cover processing costs, although this could go up in the future after the agency completes a rulemaking that might lift the limit.
The new system will require for-hire carriers, private carriers that haul hazmats, brokers and freight forwarders to file proof of insurance online.
For-hire and private carriers, brokers and freight forwards will have to designate process agents online.
Carriers will have to give notice when they transfer operating authority registration.
And, carriers that register their trucks in states that participate in the Performance and Registration Information System Management program may update their registration online, according to state requirements.
Most of this rule will take effect October 23, 2015. Some provisions will have to go through the rulemaking process before they can take effect.