When asked what a motor carrier is, most people think of big 18-wheel rigs, which is correct. But, motor carriers are more than just the three-axle tractors hauled by your favorite trucker. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines a motor carrier as any business using a unit or a combination of units with a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds, or heavier, for interstate commerce. That means someone carrying tools and/or materials across state in a heavy duty Ford F-350 with their company logo on the door, according to FMCSA, is considered a motor carrier.
A new Unified Registration System is going into effect in October 2016, which mandates stricter enforcement of the requirement for every motor carrier. These mandates include maintaining a DOT number, paying fees to the Unified Carrier Registration, and much more.
So what does that mean for you?
First, if you meet the definition of a motor carrier, and you haven’t already, you’ll need to obtain a DOT number from the FMCSA. This number must be visible on both sides of your vehicle. If not, law enforcement officers are permitted to stop, fine and even restrict operations until a number is obtained.
Once you’re registered as a motor carrier, you’ll need to operate within all FMCSA rules and regulations. For example, all drivers must be at least 21 years of age, carry proof of a DOT medical exam, maintain a log of their driving time (if driving more than 100 miles), and drive a maximum of 11 hours. Additionally, the driver’s information must be updated twice a year at a minimum or every time their business changes. Required information includes:
- Physical address
- Mailing address
- Contact information
- Number of units in operation
- Number of drivers in operation
- Type of cargo
- Nature of cargo
- If cargo is hazardous, classification of the hazardous commodity with increased financial responsibility requirements
With the mandate of stricter enforcement, we recommend setting reminders for yourself to update your FMCSA information every six months in order to avoid any costly fines and other forms of restrictions that law enforcement may place on your business.
For information on how this may affect your insurance, give us a call at (800) 411-7542.