Unified Carrier Registration: What You Need To Know | What is a UCR? It’s an abbreviation for Unified Carrier Registration — a formal procedure in the U.S. designed for commercial vehicle owners, carrier moving companies, and freight forwarders who are involved in interstate travel. It is mandatory under the U.S. Department of Transportation to get your commercial MVs registered.
Who Needs Unified Carrier Registration
Any individual or organization that is involved in the business of commercial motor vehicles is legally required to make the arrangements and register their operations with FMCSA. Based on the size of their business fleet, they will have to submit annual fees. This way, they can perform transportation of cargo and goods across different states.
FMCSA—Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is an institution established under the umbrella of the Department of Transportation. The prime objective of FMCSA is to get control over commercial vehicle-related injuries, collisions, fatalities, etc. The department is responsible to ensure road safety for motor carrier companies that are involved in high-risk carriers-related operational activities. FMCSA administration works with State, Federal, and local agencies to enforce laws and increase safety awareness for commercial vehicle groups.
FMCSA performs activities like;
- Test & license commercial vehicle drivers
- Collects data & performs analysis to improve motor carrier safety
- Ensure regulatory compliance & enforcement to eradicate high-risk carriers
- Research & develop technology to improve motor carrier operations
- Provides financial assistance for unified motor carrier safety
Why You Need UCR
If you run a transportation/motor carrier company or own commercial vehicles, then it is imperative to get the UCR right away. Otherwise, your vehicles wouldn’t be allowed for inter-state travels or cross-state lines. And you will also be liable to pay heavy fines/charges.
UCR program is a federally mandated system that empowers your commercial vehicles to perform transportation activities in inter-states and international. Under this program, you need to go through an annual registration process which happens by the end of every year (December 31). Typically, the annual registration opens two months prior which usually begins on October 01.
What If You Don’t Get UCR
If you don’t happen to sign up for annual registration, you can get arrested for driving across different state lines. Your vehicle shall be detained by enforcement officials and you will also have to pay a heavy penalty. Depending on the type and size of your commercial MV, you might have to pay additional fines. And this can vary from $100 – $5000.
Well, the UCR fees vary. For hire motor carrier businesses or passengers, the UCR fee is dependent on the number of commercial MVs currently being operated. When it comes to UCR fees for freight forwarders and brokers, it is dependent on the size of the fleet. However, for leasing firms, the UCR fee is levied at a very small portion.
UCR fee structure doesn’t change as the extent of the carriers’ operations. For instance, if a carrier has a carrier moving business in just a few states which are not part of the UCR agreement, the fee shall remain the same as a carrier company that has the same number of commercial MVs and is operating in almost all participating States.
UCR: A Step-by-Step Guide to Registration
In case, you are a newbie in a carrier moving industry, you shall know the right process for Unified Carrier Registration. Here is the simple guide that you can follow:
- Know the size of your fleet, for instance, the actual number of commercial MVs that are qualified for registration. A qualified vehicle has cargo or gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more, designed for 10 or more passengers, and any vehicle that is being used to transport or carry hazardous material.
- You can either visit jurisdictions’ UCR registration office or check an online registration portal.
- Calculate your fee based on the fleet size.
- Pay your fee. You can either pay online or make payment through MasterCard, Visa Card, or even with your credit card.
States That Don’t Require UCR Registration
There are a few states that are not currently participating in UCR. If you are planning to perform intrastate commerce activities in such states, you wouldn’t need UCR at all. These states are Arizona, Hawaii, New Jersey, Florida, Wyoming, Nevada, Oregon, Maryland, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.