FMCSA Launches Online Unified Registration System Aimed at Boosting Safety

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched the Unified Registration System (URS), a new, simplified, online registration process. It will be used by truck and bus companies, freight forwarders, brokers, intermodal equipment providers, and cargo tank manufacturing, inspection and repair facilities as part of a requirement for USDOT registration.

What It Will Do

Primarily, the URS strives to do the following:

  • Unify registration data housed in multiple FMCSA systems into one authoritative database, thus reducing the possibility for conflicting registration data between FMCSA systems.
  • Streamline manual processes and combine several forms into one unified online registration form. According to the FMCSA, this will improve efficiency, reduce errors and, most importantly, strengthen safety for the motoring public.

Why You Should Care

When fully implemented in 2016, URS will enable FMCSA to more readily identify unfit carriers and detect unsafe truck and bus companies seeking to evade Agency enforcement actions, including civil penalties, by attempting to regain USDOT registration by registering as a purported different, unrelated business entity.

In a nutshell:

  • FMCSA estimates URS will ultimately reduce costs to industry by approximately $9 million in time saved and fees incurred over a 10-year period.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), large trucks accounted for 3,964 fatalities in 2013. The new registration process should help reduce those numbers even further.
  • Fatal accidents involving 18-wheelers cost Americans more than $20 billion each year, $13.1 billion of which is the cost associated with loss of quality of life. URS, if properly enacted, should lower those costs.
  • This measure will also improve FMCSA’s ability to locate small and medium-sized private and exempt for-hire motor carriers when enforcement action is necessary.  Working with designated process agents will help FMCSA investigators locate and/or serve documents on hard-to-find motor carriers.

Our Thoughts

It’s important to note that the initial phase of URS will only affect new registrants. Later phases in 2016 will affect all regulated entities.  According to the 2016 phase schedule, additional motor carrier compliance will begin in September.

While we would prefer it be sooner, it’s certainly better late than never. The URS is certainly a welcoming addition in helping promote safety along America’s highways. It is our hope that under the new registration process, fatalities and injuries will be significantly reduced and reckless commercial drivers kept off the roads once and for all.

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