More Problems Arise from FMCSA's Elimination of Registrant-Only USDOT Numbers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has again announced a delay in the elimination of registrant-only USDOT numbers as TRALA continues to work with the agency in addressing some unintended consequences of their efforts. Now, the date at which registrant-only USDOT numbers will become inactive has been pushed back by about two weeks from October 13, 2012 until "the end of October."
In a recent TRALA-hosted webinar, as well as in previous meetings with TRALA, FMCSA officials stated that a Federal Register notice regarding the direction of the initiative and agency expectations would be published before registrant-only USDOT numbers were eliminated. However, the agency has instead moved forward with contacting registrant-only truck renting and leasing companies with a letter informing them of the change and instructing such companies to either take no action or register as a motor carrier, based on whether or not the company is moving or delivering its own vehicles. The letter from FMCSA states:
"No action is required if you are a leasing/rental company that does not transport or operate commercial motor vehicles. Your USDOT number will be made inactive in FMCSA's census records. Should your operational needs change in the future to include operating as a motor carrier, you must update your MCS-150 form before beginning those operations."
However, in discussions this week between TRALA and FMCSA, agency officials stated that "no action" is required only for vehicles already registered as part of a renting and leasing company's fleet. If any renting or leasing company needs to register new trucks, the FMCSA now expects that company to have a motor carrier USDOT number. TRALA is concerned that this is contrary to earlier representations that under the new system, USDOT numbers would not be a prerequisite for registering vehicles, even in PRISM states. Some TRALA members are already experiencing delays in registering vehicles as FMCSA continues to communicate with the states on new registration and enforcement procedures. Agency officials are now admitting that the best option for companies formerly registered as a registrant-only would be to register as a motor carrier, by selecting interstate carrier, intrastate hazmat, or intrastate non-hazmat on their MCS-150 form.
"TRALA members are responsible for up to 40% of the new trucks put into commercial service each year," said TRALA President and CEO Tom James. "However, despite our best efforts to work through this change with the FMCSA, businesses in our industry are still being put at risk by a regulatory change aimed at rogue motor carriers and owner-operators trying to evade oversight by the federal government."
In the absence of a new Federal Register notice detailing the implementation of eliminating registrant-only DOT numbers, the FMCSA points to this notice from August 31, 2011 which simply announced an earlier delay in the registrant-only elimination date. Per the Federal Register notice and through direct conversations between TRALA and FMCSA, we advise our members who have questions regarding this issue to contact FMCSA's Steve Parker at (202) 366-6407 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any additional questions or would like to discuss your company's unique situation with TRALA, please contact Joe Sculley at email@example.com or at 703-299-9120