The Unified Registration System, which will reform the way the federal government keeps track of motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders, is in the final stage of the rulemaking process.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration yesterday sent the final rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. OMB typically takes three months or so to vet agency rules, although the process could be extended if changes are required.

This rule has been in the works for seven years. The new system will replace three legacy identification systems.

Details have not been made public, but the agency was proposing to combine the systems that track identification, registration and financial responsibility into a single, new online system. All registrants would have to update their information every two years.

The proposal also called for all companies registered under the URS to be identified by their Department of Transportation numbers, although motor carriers would be allowed to use their obsolete MC numbers for business and advertising. Carriers would not have to remove that number from their trucks but the agency would encourage them to do that on new or repainted trucks once the rule is final.

Also, the agency would no longer accept or review requests for transfers of operating authority. And private carriers that haul hazardous materials interstate would have to show that they meet financial requirements.

The new URS will be one of a family of rules intended to raise the bar to entry into the business and help keep better track of “chameleon” carriers – those that evade enforcement by re-registering under a different identity.