UCR fees

Stay Compliant with FMCSA’s UCR Fees: A Guide to Understand Requirements

You will not be able to stay compliant with the rules and regulations laid down by the department of transportation and the federal motor carrier safety administration without completing your UCR filing. You might be thinking that it is just another bureaucratic formality that you have to fulfill but this is definitely not the case. The UCR is meant to streamline the registration process. If you understand the system, you will know how easy commercial vehicle registration has become and just how much safer the entire road network and highway system of the country are at the moment only because of these rules.

Unified Carrier Registration Program – Should You Become A Part Of It?

There is no question that you are required to become a part of the unified carrier registration program. It came into effect because the state-administered programs were quite confusing. Even though they registered commercial motor vehicles but the approach was not unified at all. The UCR agreement is a singular system to register vehicles regardless of the state that they belong to. It requires you to pay an annual vehicle registration fee through the UCR system. The federal motor carrier safety administration and the US department of transportation oversee the entire program themselves.

The Need For Registering For The UCR Program

You will be required to register for this program if you fulfill any or all of the following conditions:

  • You are an interstate motor carrier 
  • If you function as a freight forwarder 
  • In case you are an intermodal equipment provider 
  • When you travel across state lines with your commercial vehicles 
  • Whether you are a private or public motor carrier (exempt or are working for hire)
  • In case you are a leasing company or a broker

So in all the examples given above, you must enroll in the unified carrier registration program and pay the relevant fee to stay DOT compliant.

There Are A Few Exceptions To It As Well Such As

  • If you have a vehicle that remains in a single state and commutes from point A to point B within those state lines for the purpose of business
  • A carrier that transports less than 10 passengers will be considered an exception
  • Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles are not required to register for a UCR program
  • If you run a company that operates vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of below 10,000 lbs

There is only one annual fee that you have to pay for your unified carrier registration plan. Your DOT compliance facilitator will be able to explain this to you better. Remember, if you operate 1 vehicle or a huge fleet of vehicles across state lines and if they have a weight of more than 10,000 LBS, you will be required to pay the UCR registration fee.

Let’s Discover The Various Benefits Of Complying With The UCR Plan

The first thing that you will notice is that the new rule has reduced the final fee that is paid by motor carriers and also private carriers of property and freight forwarders as well. Even if you are a broker or a leasing company, the final fee that you have to pay will be much less as compared to what it was last year.

It was through the year 2017 that the FMCSA conducted an analysis and came up with a recommendation. The methodology to project collections was adjusted significantly and a new fee structure was created. As a result, the total target collection under the UCR plan does not change at all. However, the fee that one has to pay including transfers and other costs will be slightly reduced.

Another major benefit is that the UCR when filed on time helps you avoid any potential fines and penalties. Remember, failure to comply with this requirement can lead to your business being shut down indefinitely. If you are not registered with the UCR plan, the authorities have the power to shut down your enterprise for an undefined period of time.

Purpose Of The UCR Plan

Everybody knows that the purpose of the unified carrier registration plan was very simple. It came into existence to replace the single state registration system. This was the system being used to register interstate motor carrier entities. The statute dictates a 15-member board of directors. This board consists of one director who can be either the FMCSA deputy administrator or a presidential appointee from the department of transportation.

  • Four directors are chosen from among the chief administrative officers involved in the administration of the UCR agreement of state agencies. Each one is from the FMCSA service area.
  • Five directors are chosen from the state agencies responsible for administering the UCR agreement and they are nominated by the National Conference of State Transportation Specialists.
  • The remaining 5 directors are chosen from the motor carrier industry and one of the must be from a national trade association that represents the general motor carrier of property industry.
  • The other director must be from a motor carrier that falls under the smallest fleet fee bracket.

Under the UCR plan, all the participating states have the authority by 49 USC 14504 a (f) to collect a fee from motor carriers, private carriers, brokers, leasing companies, and freight forwarders.

A Few Abbreviations You Should Be Aware Of

  • Board is the Unified Carrier Registration Board of Directors
  • CAA stands for Clean Air Act
  • CE means Categorical Exclusion
  • FMCSA is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • 0MB means the Office of Management and Budget
  • OOIDA stands for Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
  • PRA implies Paperwork Reduction Act
  • RFA is the Regulatory Flexibility Act
  • SBA means Small Business Administration
  • SBREFA means Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act
  • SBTC expands to Small Business in Transportation Coalition
  • SSRS: Single State Registration System
  • Texas DMV is the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
  • UCR means the Unified Carrier Registration
  • UCR Agreement means Unified Carrier Registration Agreement
  • UCR Plan expands to Unified Carrier Registration Plan


UCR registration is an integral part of your DOT compliance responsibilities. If you want to continue to keep on doing business across state lines and avoid any kinds of fines and penalties, you should register for your UCR program immediately. Contact your DOT services provider or C/TPA to understand this better.

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