MC Numbers Going Away—But Not So Soon

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UPDATE 1/17/17: The FMCSA announced that it is temporarily putting on hold the effective date for EXISTING carriers and brokers to begin using the new Unified Registration System. The agency has not yet set a new effective date. For more information, see Final Stage of MC Number Rule Suspended.

Two days before the scheduled start date of the new Unified Registration System (URS), the FMCSA announced that it will delay implementation of key elements of the program by nearly a year. Originally set to take effect October 23, 2015, FMCSA has pushed ahead most of the effective dates to September 30, 2016.

Once in place, the URS will do away with MC, FF and MX numbers, and will use only the USDOT number to identify carriers, brokers and freight forwarders. All entities regulated by FMCSA will be required to update their information in the URS system every two years.

There are other rules mandated by the URS, as well. See below for questions and answers.


After the URS takes effect, DAT customers will still be able to look up potential business partners by their MC numbers. If a carrier or broker is a DAT customer, simply look them up in the the DAT Directory in your load board. Brokers can access full information on ALL carriers’ authority and CSA scores, and obtain copies of their actual insurance certificates, by using DAT CarrierWatch.

What is the URS?

According to the FMCSA, the Unified Registration System (URS) is an electronic on-line registration system that will streamline and simplify the FMCSA’s registration process. It will replace all of FMCSA’s existing registration databases with one unified registration system that will be the authoritative source of registration data for FMCSA staff, state licensing and roadside safety enforcement personnel, and motor carrier industry partners. It applies to all the entities that FMCSA regulates, including freight and passenger motor carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, intermodal equipment providers, hazardous materials safety permit applicants/holders, and cargo tank manufacturing and repair facilities.

When will the URS go into effect?

Existing carriers and brokers will be required to register in the online URS system beginning September 30, 2016.

What exactly do I need to do beginning September 30, 2016?

Starting on this date, carriers and brokers will need to register on the online URS system and update their company’s information every two years. Your deadline will be based on the last two numbers of your USDOT number. If the second-to-last number of your DOT number is an even number, you need to register in even-numbered years. If it’s an odd number, you register in odd-numbered years. The last number in your DOT number tells you what month to register. For example, if your DOT number ends in 1, you register in January, if it ends in 2, you register in February, etc. If your DOT number ends in 0, you will register in October.

What are the other requirements of URS?

Once the URS goes into effect, carriers and brokers must electronically file in the URS their proof of financial responsibility (insurance, surety bond/trust) and designation of a process service agent (form BOC-3). This shouldn’t be much of a burden, since both of these would normally be filed by your insurance company or your process agent.

Why did FMCSA delay implementation?

This is what the FMCSA stated in its notice published in the Federal Registry: “During the 2 years since publication of the final rule, the agency has experienced challenges completing the IT system necessary to fully implement the 2013 final rule. FMCSA also received a protest during the acquisition process for a supporting contractor, which added to delays in development of the IT system.”

Why is FMCSA creating the URS and eliminating MC numbers?

FMCSA touts time savings as a key benefit of the URS, a result of eliminating paper forms. But the rule itself addresses another, perhaps larger, concern. It states: “FMCSA believes that combining…agency information systems into the URS will improve the Agency’s ability to detect and prevent unscrupulous motor carriers that reinvent themselves to avoid compliance with regulations and enforcement actions.” USDOT numbers are easier to verify, because, unlike docket numbers, USDOT numbers have never been transferable.

Would if I don’t register my company in the URS or I fail to update it every other year?

Carriers and brokers who fail to register can be fined $1,000 per day, up to $10,000.

What are the fees for the new URS?

Beginning September 30, 2016, new entities applying for operating authority will be charged a $300 fee for each operating authority (motor carrier, broker, freight forwarder, etc.). Carriers—and freight forwarders who have vehicles—will also be charged a $300 safety registration fee. There is no fee to file the biennial update.

After FMCSA goes to a DOT-number-only system, will there be a way I can look up a carrier or broker by MC number?

To look up a carrier or broker by MC number—or to use their MC number to find their USDOT number—check the DAT Directory in your DAT load board. Brokers can access full information on carriers’ authority and CSA scores, and obtain copies of their actual insurance certificates, by using DAT CarrierWatch®.

After the new URS system is up and running, how do I register?

Users will go to and enter a PIN number to register. The FMCSA will issue your company a PIN number.

Is the process different for new applicants?

New applicants that have never had an MC, MX, FF or USDOT number must use a new MCSA-1 online application process beginning December 12, 2015.

Will new applicants that apply for authority between now and September 30, 2016 not receive an MC number?

Until September 30, 2016, new applicants will be issued both a DOT number and MC number.

Can I still use my MC number?

Yes. Even though the MC number won’t have an official purpose, companies may continue to use their numbers for advertising, marketing or other reasons. MC numbers do not have to be removed from vehicles. However, the agency encourages carriers to stop using MC numbers when they buy or repaint equipment.

What happens to my authority? It is currently based on my MC number.

Currently the company’s authority—whether for a common or contract carrier, broker or freight forwarder—is attached to the docket number. After the launch of URS, the authority registrations will be tied to the company’s DOT number, along with safety data. For brokers and shippers, it means they can track a single number instead of two separate numbers, when they want to check whether a carrier is legal and has a good safety record.

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