Everything you need to know: MCS-150 edition
Documentation is a vital part of the trucking industry. Between the documents needed to start a trucking company and the documents required to keep your company compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are many documents motor carriers must have. Current documentation of drivers' licenses for all drivers, proof of registration for all vehicles, up-to-date business registration, and vehicle maintenance logs are just some examples.
However, the most important documents of all is the MCS-150 Form. This document, also known as the Motor Carrier Identification Report, is required for all trucking companies that conduct intrastate and interstate commerce.
Requirements for an MCS-150 Form
The MCS-150 Form is required by the FMCSA for all motor carriers. Despite this requirement, many motor carriers are unsure of how they should fill out their MCS-150. To better understand how to complete it, you should first understand the purpose the MCS-150 serves to motor carriers.
Obtaining a USDOT Number
The MCS-150 was once used to grant new carriers their USDOT Number from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which was then used to register with the FMCSA. However, all new applicants must now get their USDOT number through the Unified Registration System.
A USDOT number must be updated if and when any of the following apply:
It has been two years since the company last filed an MCS-150 Form
The company no longer engages in interstate commerce or transit
There have been changes to the structure of the company, addresses, phone numbers, etc.
In any of these scenarios, the MCS-150 can be filed online or submitted via mail. We recommend submitting online as the waiting process is much less when done online.
Obtaining Interstate Operating Authority
An MCS-150 can also be used to apply for Interstate Operating Authority. If this is required, a carrier must submit the additional documentation to gain Interstate Operating Authority. This will allow the carrier to obtain an “MC” number in addition to its USDOT number, both numbers are required to conduct interstate commerce and both are required to be shown on the outside of the vehicles.
When You Need to Update Your MCS-150 Form
Just like your vehicle insurance, you want to make sure that your Form MCS-150 never lapses. However, unlike insurance, your MCS-150 cannot be easily reinstated. Carriers who fail to update this document will have their USDOT number suspended and will also be subject to fines of up to $10,000. Ensure you avoid these penalties by updating your MCS-150, or having your compliance management company update it for you. Updates are required when your business undergoes changes and every two years.
One of the primary purposes of the MCS-150 Form is to track carriers engaging in interstate commerce. If this no longer applies to your trucking company, you should consider updating the MCS-150 by filing either a voluntary revocation of your MC authority or inform the FMCSA by selecting “Out of Business Notification” in the form’s “Reason for Filing” field. If you have questions about this or questions about the proper course of action for yur company, contact us at Front Range Compliance.
Your Business Has Changed
If your trucking company has undergone a major change, for example, a change of the business name, you need to file the MCS-150 Form in order to document these changes. Other reasons to file an updated MCS-150 Form include a change to the size of your fleet, change in interstate or intrastate travel or any other significant alterations. When you file to indicate changes, your “Reason for Filing” should be “Biennial Update or Changes.”
Every Two Years
You must update your MCS-150 Form every 2 years. To do this, simply fill out the form and choose “Biennial Update or Changes” as your “Reason for Filing.”
How an MCS-150 Form Is Used
The MCS-150 is the basic description of your operation to the USDOT. This form helps the FMCSA track several important metrics relating to the carriers operations and describes, in general, their business operations and safety standing.
Calculating Safety Scores
Unfortunately, some trucking companies neglect to update their MCS-150 Form when there are major changes to the company, they may even put it off until their biannual update is due. Keeping the form up-to-date is imperative because the data associated with the DOT number is used to calculate CSA safety scores for each carrier. These scores are based on a company’s safety track record, compliance with regulations, and measurement of accountability. Failure to submit an update can compromise your USDOT number and lead to disciplinary action from the DOT or FMCSA.
Tracking Carriers’ Mileage
Another important function of the MCS-150 Form is tracking carriers’ cumulative mileage. This helps to accurately calculate the aforementioned safety scores, and it also provides the FMCSA with valuable data for statistics and programs. Motor carriers should use the combined annual mileage from all commercial vehicles in its fleet and round the number to the closest 10,000. This number will be used to determine a carrier’s safety liability and determine whether an intervention may be necessary.
About Front Range Compliance Services
Front Range Compliance Services is a trusted DOT compliance and safety management service with the mission of keeping you off the radar! We can assist with filing or updating the MCS-150, drug and alcohol programs, periodic inspections, compliance training, audit preparation and much more!
Make sure to check out our online DOT Training platform, DOT University! We currently are offering Reasonable Suspicion for Supervisors, Cargo Securement, Defensive Driving, and Pre/Post Trip Inspection. In the coming months, we plan on releasing DOT Compliance Essentials and Appendix A.
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