What Is Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)?

What Is Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)?

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you learn everything about Unified Carrier Registration (UCR).

What Is UCR?

UCR means Unified Carrier Registration.

It’s a federal mandate requiring all qualified CMV carriers, fleet forwarders, brokers, motor carriers, and leasing companies to pay UCR fees annually for interstate travel.

The fee collected from motor operators for interstate travel is used to fund a variety of federal safety programs and USDOT officer training.

Qualified CMV carriers from Canada, Mexico, or any other country that operates interstate commerce on U.S. interstate lines are also required to follow this mandate and register with the UCR.

Origin of UCR: Replacing Single State Registration System

Prior to the Unified Carrier Registration system, the Single State Registration System (SSRS) was in play. Trucking companies, motor carriers, freight forwarders, and other carriers that operate interstate, were required to provide regulatory information and register with a base state instead of registering with each individual state.

The interstate registration policy at the time required the motor carriers to pay the fees and furnish the operation authority and proof of insurance to the base state instead of each state (in which the carriers operate). This system was later concluded on January 1, 2007.

The Unified Carrier Registration was established on January 5, 2005. It replaced SSRS with its universal registration scheme for interstate carriers operating across the US, its territories, and of course, bordering states, such as Canada and Mexico.

How Does UCR Work?

Every company and individual who is traveling interstate is federally required to register with the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) system annually to be able to travel interstate.

Vehicles that weigh in excess of 10,000 pounds, passenger vehicles with 10 or more passengers (including the driver), and HAZMAT vehicles with regulated placards, traveling across the interstate lines are required to register with this federally mandated system. 

If you’re a fleet owner, and you want to register your fleet through the UCR system, you will need to gather some information.

For starters, you need to know whether your state is participating in the UCR system. And if your state is a part of the federal mandate, you will need to find the UCR office in the jurisdiction.

How To Register With UCR?

The majority of the states in the U.S. are following the UCR system, except for a few.

In order to register with the UCR system, your fleet company needs to contact the local UCR registration office in your state or fill out the UCR registration form online.

You can also log on to the individual state’s UCR portals and start the registration process.

Who Needs To Register With The UCR System?

  • Interstate operating fleet forwarders, brokers, leasing companies, and qualified CMV carriers are required to register under the UCR federal mandate.
  • CMV vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more must register with the UCR system.
  • Vehicles carrying hazardous material in permitted quantities with placard regulations are required to register with the UCRS.
  • Passenger vehicles with 10 or more passengers (including the driver) need to register with
  • Carriers and other qualified parties conducting interstate commerce in non-participating states are also required to register with the UCR system.

Note

  • Qualified interstate operating parties need to register by November 30 of the calendar year.
  • The registration fee must be paid only once, annually.

Exceptions To UCR Registration

  • Vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds are exempt from this protocol. However, it is advisable to pay the lowest bracket of the fees and register with the federal mandate to prevent inconveniences on the interstate lines.
  • Non-interstate CMV carriers are exempt from UCR registration.
  • Private passenger carriers are exempt from the fees and the UCR registration

Unified Carrier Registration Fees

The UCR fee is the applicable per company or entity under which your interstate vehicles will be operating.  It’s not in accordance with the number of vehicles in your fleet.

The fee is about $76 for a company with a fleet consisting of up to two vehicles and goes up to $73,346 as your fleet size increases to 1000+ vehicles.

Fleet SizeFee Per Company
0 – 2$76
3 – 5$227
6 – 20$452
21 – 100$1576
101 – 1000$7511
1001+$73,346

Why Your CMV Carrier Must Register With The UCR System

If your CMV carrier is operating on the interstate lines, then you definitely need to be registered with the UCR system in order to avoid trouble with the authorities on the interstate lines.

The UCR registration is a mandatory protocol that every qualified interstate-operating company (and individuals) must follow.

So, if you’re an owner-operator or own a trucking business that travels interstate frequently, then it’s best to be registered with UCR to prevent penalties and possible detention and imprisonment from the state authorities.

UCR Penalties: Failure To Compliance

You cannot ignore UCR registration.

If you’re thinking, “It’s okay. I’ll do it later.” Think again.

Failure to pay your UCR fee and failing to renew your UCR can bring you heavy penalties and even punishment as severe as vehicle detention, and imprisonment for up to 6 months.

It is imperative that you do not miss the UCR fees because each state holds the power to exercise the penalty assessment in accordance with the jurisdiction’s regulations.

Even a first-time offense can be pretty hefty on your business and can drag your operations.

Here’s how each state penalizes for failing to comply with the UCR requirements.

State (By Code)UCR Enforcement Penalty
AL$100 for the first offense.$500 for all the subsequent offenses.No Out-of-Service.
AR$100-$500 for the first offense.$100-1000 for all the subsequent offenses.
AZ 
CAState base fine of $300-$1,000 + specific fees that vary by county.
CO$1100 for the first offense.$2200 for the second offense.$3300 for the subsequent offenses.No Out-of-Service.
CT$170 penalty.
FL 
GANone.
HI 
IDImprisonment in a county jail for up to 6 months, or by a fine not exceeding $1,000. Sometimes, it could be both.A citation would require a bond to be posted, the amount to be determined by a magistrate judge, but typically about $300.
IL$300 for the first offense.$500 for the second offense.
IN$150 for the first offense.$1000 for the subsequent offense.
IA$250 fine
KSCivil fine of $300 if discovered at roadside.Civil fines discovered through a compliance audit are $100-$1000 (if first offense)$100-$5000 for the subsequent offense.
KYRanging between $25-$250.
LA$250 fine.
MEA traffic infraction for which a fine of not less than $250 for the first offense and not less than $500 for a 2nd or subsequent offense may be adjudged.
MA$100 for the first offense.$200 for the subsequent offense.
MD 
MIUp to $500 for hire carriers.
MN$100 fine + $78 in court costs.
MSMisdemeanor; $100 to $500 + court cost and assessment fees that vary by county.
MODepends on the county and the audit report.The state can impose a general fine up to $2000 per day.
MTOnly a warning (for now).
NETreated as Class IV misdemeanor.Minimum fine is $100.Greater fines if the law enforcement finds evidence of multiple ongoing violations.
NH$100 + penalty assessment for a first offense and $500 + penalty assessment for a subsequent offense in a 12-month period.
NM$50 penalty assessment misdemeanor. With a formal proceeding, up to $10,000 per day.
NJ 
NYWith a formal proceeding, up to $5000.
NC$1,000 penalty for each offense charged in violation of the Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Article
NDNone presently, but can hold IRP and IFTA renewals for UCR non-payment.
NV 
OHOperating a vehicle in violation of the UCR registration requirements. $500 fine per occurrence.  Any entity that fails to register and pay fees as required – $1,000 fine.Any entity found to be providing false or misleading information on application – $5,000.
OK$300 for the first offense.$400 for the second offense.$500 for the subsequent offenses.
OR 
PANone for now.
RI$300 fine.
SC$232.50 fine.
SD$154 fine.
TNState base fine of $50 + court costs that are county specific.
TXClass C Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of $1 to $500 + court costs. The fine amount is determined by the assigned judge.
UTCVSA inspections for a first-time offense.
VAClass IV misdemeanor carries a $250 fine.
VT 
WA$124 fine.
WV$100-$1000 fine.
WI$750 fine.
WY 

UCR is an integral aspect of compliance.

However, there’s another important aspect to your compliance journey.

One that will help prevent trouble with the IRS and the authorities at DOT.

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