October brings cooler days, longer nights and dreams of wintery wonderlands yet to come. For truckers it is the last chance to prepare our equipment for dedicated service throughout the coming winter months and for motor carrier enforcement it begins the renewal periods for several important credentials.
For all motor carriers, which includes owner operators, operating in interstate commerce the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) renewal period opens up on October 1st and must be completed no later than December 31st. Enforcement begins on January 1st each year without any grace period. This renewal period triggers countless emails, phone calls and other solicitations from unscrupulous companies offering to process your renewal for some ridiculous fee, usually at or above $99. Please don’t fall for these scams!
UCR can be renewed in a matter of minutes online at their official website www.ucr.gov where you will only be charged the actual fees due plus a small convenience fee if you chose to pay with a credit card. The fee structure is based on the number of qualifying vehicles operated in interstate commerce as reported on your MCS-150 (US DOT bi-annual report). It is a good idea to make sure your MCS-150 is current before processing your UCR renewal. This too can be completed yourself online for no charge, or if you are more comfortable I would be happy to assist for a small fee.
As a reminder, a UCR qualified vehicle is any vehicle used in a business capacity in interstate commerce (does not need to be used exclusively for business or interstate) with a gross weight rating or actual weight greater than 10,000 pounds.
Other renewals to be mindful of include your quarterly fuel tax reports (IFTA) and decal orders for the 2022 year, which has a grace period until February 28, 2022 for displaying the new decals. New York Highway Use Tax (HUT) is due for new decals this year, so be sure to order these if applicable to your operation.
Another federal compliance concern to be aware of is the updated entry level driver training (ELDT) requirements for all new commercial driver license (CDL) applicants. Beginning on February 7, 2022 all first time CDL applicants must complete ELDT provided by a provider entity that is registered with the FMCSA. Employers may also be training providers, however they will need to meet the requirements with a few minor exceptions.
If you have a learners permit that was issued prior to February 7th you will not be required to complete the new ELDT. You can obtain a permit after February 7th without the training however you will not be authorized to take the skills and road test until the training has been completed and documented with your state driver license agency. This new regulation will increase the difficulty in obtaining a CDL without first attending a school however it is expected to increase the quality of new CDL holders and will hold those providing training accountable for the quality of their educational programs.