Universal Carrier Registration enforcement delayed until April 1

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Enforcement of Universal Carrier Registration (UCR) is going to be delayed until April 1, 2019, and the 2019 fees most carriers will be paying will be more than what they paid in 2018…but less than 2017.

The enforcement bulletin that recently went out to law enforcement authorities said that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules to enforce the 2019 UCR schedule were not in place in time to enforce the 2018 fees. As it turned out, FMCSA did post a note on  December 31 in the Federal Register confirming the new rates for 2019. But the new fees won’t be enforced until April 1.

Those fees for carriers involved in interstate transportation are less than 2017 but higher than in 2018. For example, for a company with up to two commercial motor vehicles, the registration fee in 2018 was $69. It will be $73 in 2019, but it was $76 in 2017. For larger companies, with 1,001 or more vehicles, the fee will rise to $69,971 from $66,971. However, the fee for that category was $73,346 in 2017.

Individual states collect the UCR fees. At present, 41 states are part of the UCR coalition that collects the fees and use the revenue to fund various trucking-related enforcement activities. Kerri Wirachowsky, the director of the roadside inspection program at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration (CVSA), said if a vehicle is not registered, it pays a fine each time it is stopped by a law enforcement official. “However, until the fines are finalized and in place, enforcement cannot take place; hence the delayed enforcement this year,” she wrote in an email to FreightWaves. Enforcement of the 2018 fees will continue to take place until April 1.

The reduction in fees is part of an ongoing series of cuts to ensure that the revenue from them doesn’t exceed the law. FMCSA, in its Federal Register notice about the fees, stated the average of the cuts in 2019 is 18.62 percent compared to 2017 levels, with the reductions “to ensure that fee revenues collected do not exceed the statutory maximum, and to account for the excess funds held in the depository.” The 2020 fees will be less than the 2017 fees by about 9.9 percent, FMCSA pointed out in the notice.

According to various summaries of the UCR program, if you drive interstate but are based in a state that is not one of the UCR members, you still need to comply with the registration requirement, and your firm will be assigned a base state in which to register to be in compliance with the UCR rule.   

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.