Motor carriers will pay substantially less for Unified Carrier Registration Plan and Agreement (UCR) fees beginning in 2023. Overall, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a roughly 31% decrease in the UCR fees.
For example, carriers with one to two trucks paid $59 in UCR fees for the registration years 2020 to 2022. Beginning in 2023, that same carrier will pay only $41, saving $18. At the other end of the spectrum, a fleet of 1,001 or more trucks paid $56,977 annually between 2020 and 2022, but starting in 2023 it will pay $39,289, a reduction of $17,688.
Congress created the Unified Carrier Registration Plan in 2005, replacing the Interstate Commerce Commission system and the state/provincial level public utility/public service commissions. UCR requires annual fees from interstate and international motor carriers, private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies. The UCR board bases the fees for motor carriers on the number of trucks in a fleet.
Forty-one states participate in the UCR system, with most requiring all weigh station bypass providers to flag any carrier with an expired UCR and have them pull into a weigh station or inspection site. In addition, states may detain vehicles, and carriers can be subject to fines and penalties for noncompliance.
If a carrier’s base state does not participate, but its cargo-carrying commercial vehicle(s) cross state or international lines, it must still purchase a UCR. The nine non-participating states are: Arizona, Hawaii, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Wyoming, as well as Washington D.C. Recent years have brought a significant increase in law enforcement attention to UCR fee payment, particularly from motor carriers based in the nine non-participating states.
One would think that the trucking industry would welcome an FMCSA announcement of reduced UCR fees, but this year’s decision was surprisingly contentious. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association challenged several aspects of the UCR board’s decision-making process. OOIDA sits as a voting member on that board.
FMCSA compared the OOIDA concerns to the underlying UCR statute, agreeing with OOIDA in certain areas and disagreeing in others. For example, FMCSA said the UCR fee brackets are progressive, as required, even if some fleets may pay less on a per-truck basis than other fleets. Addressing OOIDA’s major complaint, FMCSA said that the UCR does have active programs to collect fees from brokers – just away from the road where that enforcement effort is not visible.
Participating in an electronic weigh station bypass program, like PrePass, requires a motor carrier to achieve a superior safety rating and demonstrate full compliance with state and federal laws. UCR is one of the state requirements that bypass providers check. Stay safe – but also stay legal by paying your (reduced) UCR fees by Dec. 31, 2022.
The PrePass blog and podcasts are published as a public service of PrePass®, the most reliable and technologically advanced weigh station bypass and electronic trucking toll payment platform in North America. PrePass also includes INFORM™ Safety and Tolling software for improving truck safety scores and lowering toll costs.