A strict three-tiered plan to help officials identify and contact unregistered motor carriers has been approved by the Unified Carrier Registration Plan’s Board of Directors. The 44,000 motor carriers that have still yet to register with this new plan have either been issued penalties for previous violations or have failed to pay outstanding fees.
The UCR Plan was implemented by Congress in 2005, which includes 41 participating states that have agreed to be part of the plan collecting fees from leasing companies, private carriers of property, motor carriers, freight forwarders, and brokers. For these participating states, the agreement also allows for the allocation of more than $100 million in safety enforcement program funds each year.
“Our motor carrier registration percentages from non-participating states historically lag well behind those of participating states for various reasons,” explained the UCR Plan’s executive director, Avelino Gutierrez. “First, since non-participating states do not register their own UCR-eligible motor carriers for UCR, the non-participating motor carrier will not be actively solicited to register for UCR by anyone in their state. Second, few non-participating states enforce UCR roadside, which is certainly another effective method of getting motor carriers to register on their own.”
Additionally, if non-participating states have domiciled motor carriers that have Department of Transportation numbers, those carriers must still register and pay the related fees. According to Gutierrez, the nine non-participating states have around 35,000 unregistered carriers themselves. The categories of carriers required to pay UCR fees do not include private carriers of passengers, although Mexico- and Canada-based carriers operating within the United States are in fact otherwise subject to the UCR plan agreement.
The current nine states not participating in the UCR program are: Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Alliance roadside inspectors have been checking the UCR registrations of carriers within participating states since 2013. Registration fees also align with the number of trucks within a carrier’s fleet–carriers with a fleet of over 1,000 need to pay $56,977 in annual fees, whereas carriers with only two trucks must pay $59 each year.
“We agree that great headway can be made if we contact those carriers in this pilot and attempt to register them,” Gutierrez explained. “So, the plan is to have one contractor full-time equivalent contact the motor carriers–about 50 a day–starting with those with the highest number of power units and moving to those with lower numbers of power units, to be more efficient in our return.”
A pilot project is in the works that would aim to help officials more easily contact motor carriers reporting a number of power units that is in contradiction with the number that is declared in their Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration form (MCS-150), which mandates brokers or carriers accurately define all aspects of their operations. However, three other pilots are the main focus of the UCR plan at this time, and none of these pilots would be geared toward freight forwarders or brokers.
All of these potential pilots will likely “be the first step of the board in taking action on the enforcement side of the registration equation,” Gutierrez added.
According to Gutierrez, the first pilot will focus upon raising nearly $450,000 in collections from just 20% of carriers that will be contacted–a violation that will likely cost around $85,000 for each contractor.
The next pilot estimates that more than 5,600 new carriers entering the industry in non-participating states have failed to register, although many of them may not yet understand that this kind of registration is indeed necessary. Collections from these failures to register will likely bring in around $383,000, Gutierrez estimates.
Thirdly, the next pilot will focus upon other motor carriers who have already been cited for failing to register. With 1,800 of these kinds of violations having already been issued in 2021, the UCR Plan estimates that around 3,500 total motor carriers may be in violation of registering by December.