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New Registration System for Motor Carriers, Forwarders, Others Postponed

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has postponed from Oct. 23, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016, with some exceptions, the effective and compliance dates of a final rule that will require interstate motor carriers, freight forwarders, brokers, intermodal equipment providers, hazardous materials safety permit applicants, and cargo tank facilities under FMCSA jurisdiction to submit required registration and biennial update information via a new online Unified Registration System. FMCSA states that this delay will give it more time to complete the information technology systems work required to fully implement the rule. Any petitions for reconsideration are due no later than Nov. 20.

The URS will replace the registration functions of the DOT identification number system, the 49 USC chapter 139 commercial registration system, the 49 USC 13906 financial responsibility information system, and the service of process agent designation system. Highlights of the FMCSA final rule, taking the new compliance dates into account, include the following.

Registration. New applicants (U.S.- or Canada-domiciled entities, or citizens of Mexico or motor carriers owned or controlled by a citizen of Mexico, that do not have (and have

never had) an active DOT, MC, MX or FF number) will be required to use the new online application when applying for a DOT number and operating authority (if applicable) for the period Dec. 12, 2015, through Sept. 29, 2016. These applications will be processed using the same legacy systems available to FMCSA today and will be transitioned over to the complete URS database with those records that already exist in the legacy systems.

Fees. New applicants using the URS online application before Sept. 30, 2016, will pay the same fees as they would today using the current application forms and procedures. Beginning Sept. 30,  2016, all applicants will be charged a separate $300 fee for each distinct registration for which they apply, with each entity that operates commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce paying $300 for the safety registration and $300 for each additional registration. For example, a freight forwarder operating commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce would pay $300 for the safety registration and $300 for registration as a freight forwarder.

Evidence of Financial Responsibility. The requirement to file evidence of financial responsibility to receive DOT registration is being expanded to all for-hire motor carriers and private motor carriers that transport hazardous materials in interstate commerce. In addition, such filings will have to be made electronically. However, private hazmat carriers and exempt for-hire carriers registered with FMCSA as of Sept. 30, 2016, will have until Dec. 30, 2016, to meet this requirement.

Designation of Process Agents. The requirement to file a designation of a process service agent (form BOC-3) using the URS online application as a precondition for receiving DOT registration and/or operating authority registration is being extended to all for-hire and private motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders. However, all entities registered with FMCSA as of Sept. 30, 2016, will have until Dec. 30, 2016, to meet this requirement.

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