Unified Carrier Registration
Are you a motor carrier, or provide transportation services in interstate or international commerce? You may need to register with Unified Carrier Registration (UCR). Here's everything you need to know.
Unified Carrier Registration, short for UCR, is a federally-mandated, state-administered program that collects annual fees from motor carriers and certain other entities. The UCR Plan and Agreement set annual registration fees for motor carriers, motor private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies engaged in interstate or international operations. FMCSA reduced those fees in 2020 and will continue to do so through 2023.
UCR is a base-state system for registering interstate carriers with vehicles over 10,000 pounds. Its main responsibilities include:
- Administering a vehicle identification system.
- Collecting and distributing revenue to state agencies.
- Using the proceeds for highway-safety initiatives.
The best part is that it does not cost much to participate. It is a win-win situation for carriers, who enjoy the benefits of having access to information about the industry and the chance to share their knowledge with their peers. In addition, the program has a strong customer service component, with dedicated staff members ready to answer questions about vehicle identification, motor carrier regulations, and other relevant topics.
While unified carrier registration might not be for everyone, it is certainly the most cost-effective and time-efficient way to ensure you comply with interstate transportation laws. If you’re a commercial truck or bus driver or operator, you owe it to yourself to learn more about this laudable program and find out how it works for your business.
Do I Need to Register with UCR?
The UCR Program replaces the Single State Registration System (SSRS) and Interstate Exempt System (IEX). This program requires all carriers – private, exempt, and for hire – to register their business with a participating state and pay an annual fee based on their fleet size.
The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) program aims to ensure that trucking companies and their drivers are safe while driving. To accomplish this, the UCR is a national database that law enforcement can access. Drivers and companies registered with the UCR can also receive a certificate proving their compliance.
A commercial vehicle is a towed or self-propelled vehicle used for interstate travel. It has a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,001 pounds, transports more than ten passengers, or hauls hazardous materials that must be placarded.
In the US, 41 states participate in the UCR program. Some other states are slated to join the program in the future. If you live in a state that doesn’t participate, you will need to purchase UCR registration in the nearest participating state.
How Much is Registration for UCR?
The fee varies depending on the number of qualifying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in your fleet. This is a key factor because it determines how much you will pay in UCR fees each year.
Generally, the larger your fleet size, the more you will pay in UCR fees. For example, a motor carrier with one to two trucks paid $59 in UCR fees during the 2020-2022 registration years, while a motor carrier with 1,001 or more trucks will pay $41 in 2023.
Typically, the base state for UCR fees is your company’s principal place of business. However, if you do not have a base state, you must claim the nearest participating state as your base state.
This is important to remember because it is beneficial to be registered in a participating state that can provide you with the most cost-effective UCR filing fees.
UCR registration is also important for participating in weigh station bypass programs like PrePass(r). Bypass providers will check your UCR status to verify that you are registered and complying with state and federal requirements.
You can get your UCR by completing an online application or hiring an agent. If you choose to hire an agent, be sure they understand the requirements and can complete your registration accurately.
A UCR is not a license or endorsement but doesn’t replace your commercial driver’s license (CDL). It simply ensures you have the right paperwork in place to carry out your duties properly.