• Henry Seaton

FMCSA delays full URS indefinitely

After twice delaying full implementation of the Unified Registration System, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has postponed the second phase of URS without setting a new date. In a Federal Register notice, the agency said additional time is needed "to securely migrate data from multiple legacy platforms into a new central database and to conduct further compatibility testing with its State partners."

FMCSA recently moved its information technology systems to a “cloud” environment, which was necessary to implement the second phase. A major element of URS is combining FMCSA's separate existing databases for registration, safety monitoring and licensing and insurance into a single platform that is intended to make it easier to monitor carriers and expose so-called "chameleon carriers" that try to circumvent enforcement. Once URS is fully implemented, FMCSA plans to use only USDOT numbers to track carriers.

"By moving the implementation date, FMCSA is providing its State partners more time to develop, update, and verify data connectivity and system reliability. The additional time will also enable the Agency to conduct more thorough training and to implement broader outreach and education activities that will provide for a seamless transition," FMCSA said.

Other key elements of URS require:

  • Online filing for new USDOT numbers and operating authority, biennial updates, transfers of authority, etc.

  • A new $300 safety registration fee for FMCSA-regulated carriers in addition to the $300 fee for operating authority, if applicable;

  • The designation of agents for service of process by private and exempt carriers; and

  • The filing of evidence of minimum financial responsibility by exempt carriers and by private carriers.

The first phase of URS, which took effect in December 2015, required individuals and businesses seeking new USDOT numbers to do so online using a new interface. All other changes were initially postponed until September 30, 2016. However, FMCSA in July 2016 again postponed full implementation until January 2017, saying that “the additional time is needed due to added complexities encountered when the Agency converted to cloud-based systems and also due to the logistics of transferring millions of records.”

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