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Frequently Asked Questions

General | New Entrant | Applying Online | Update Process

  • What happens after the 18-month new entrant registration?
    carrier will be notified in writing that the “new entrant” designation will be removed from their registration at the end of the 18-month safety-monitoring period, if the carrier meets the following requirements:
    • The new entrant has passed a safety audit, or has not been deemed “unfit” following a compliance review; and
    • The new entrant does not have any outstanding civil penalties.

  • Why were these rules created?
    required the FMCSA to establish minimum requirements for new motor carriers seeking federal interstate operating authority. These minimum requirements include having the carrier certify that it has systems in place to ensure compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and a safety audit conducted within the first 18 months of the carrier’s interstate operation.
    For more information, look at Adobe Acrobat logoFederal Register / Vol. 67, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2002

  • How will the safety audits be conducted?
    safety audit will be conducted by a Safety Auditor and will consist of a review of the carrier’s management system. The areas of review include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Driver Qualifications 
    • Driver Duty Status 
    • Vehicle Maintenance 
    • Accident Register, and
    • Controlled Substances and Alcohol use and testing requirements.

    Applying Online
  • What is this form MCS-150A that I’ve been hearing about? Is it the same as an MCS-150?
    Safety Certification Application for USDOT Number (MCS-150A) is a requirement for all new (those applying on or after January 1, 2003) motor carriers seeking USDOT numbers. It supplements the Motor Carrier Identification Report (MCS-150). Whereas the MCS-150 collects information relating to the identity, cargo, and operations of a motor carrier, the MCS-150A certifies that applicants for USDOT numbers are familiar with safety regulations and programs before they begin operations.  Motor carriers can familiarize themselves with these regulations by downloading or obtaining an Educational and Technical Assistance (ETA) package.

    The MCS-150 and MCS-150A both need to be filed and should be filed together. They will not be accepted if they are filed separately.  They will be considered incomplete and sent back to the motor carrier if they are filed separately. 

  • Why do I need to give you my credit card information?
    use the validation of the credit card as a digital signature on the online MCS-150 and MCS-150A documents. Your card is processed just like it would be if you were at the store purchasing a product. Once your bank or card issuing authority approves the transaction, we then place your name on the signature lines of the MCS-150 and MCS-150A. There is no cost for submitting an update online, and your credit card will not be charged with any fee.

  • I am an intrastate non-hazardous materials motor carrier. Can I still get a USDOT number?
    answer varies from state to state. In most states, intrastate non-hazardous material motor carriers do not require a USDOT number, but several states participate in programs (such as the PRISM program) which do require intrastate motor carriers (with and without HazMat) to have a USDOT number. The list of states that require Intrastate motor carriers to have USDOT numbers is not set in stone; rather it is fluid, growing or shrinking based on the rules and regulations of each individual state. If you do not know whether your state requires Intrastate motor carriers to have a USDOT number, contact the Office of Motor Carrier Safety field office in your state. For a listing of State offices, go to the FMCSA Field Roster.

  • I’m an agent filing registration forms for a motor carrier. Should I put my mailing address or the motor carrier's mailing address on the forms?
    MCS-150 is designed to be a Motor Carrier Identification Report. This means that we want address information for the motor carrier, and not information for their agents. The correct addresses are important for compiling statistics and reports as well as differentiating between companies when it comes to assigning safety ratings. Two companies with the same agent's address can really cause some confusion. However, we understand that in certain circumstances it may be more practical or even necessary for a motor carrier to use an agent's address on their MCS-150 and MCS-150A forms.

    For these reasons the FMCSA strongly encourages agents who file these forms to use the motor carrier's address information whenever possible.

  • Why does the PDF of the MCS-150 or MCS-150A appear blank when I click on it from your web site? I have Adobe Acrobat 5.0 installed.
    may have something to do with the way you have your system configured. Some configurations of Acrobat Reader do not support viewing documents over the Internet. In this situation it is best to right click on the link for the PDF and select “Save Target As…” This will allow you to save a copy of the PDF onto your hard drive (file size 289kb). Then you can open the PDF from where you’ve saved it and enter your information onto the form.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: With Adobe Acrobat Reader you will not be able to save any changes you make. Therefore you will need to print out your information and fax or mail a copy to the proper address.

  • I do not want to submit my application over the Internet. Where do I mail or fax my application when it is complete?
    completed, mail to: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Office of Information Management, MC-RIS, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, D. C. 20590, or you may FAX to 703-280-4003.

    Please note: Mailing or Faxing the MCS-150 and MCS-150A to any other address may delay the processing of the forms. If you mail the forms, be sure to keep a copy for your records. Also please either mail or fax—if you send in multiple forms it can lead to delays in the processing of your USDOT number as we work to resolve the duplicate applications.

    Update Process
  • The website tells me that I need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to submit an update. What is a PIN and where can I get it?
    PIN is a unique, private number assigned to a motor carrier so that they may access and update their USDOT information.

    For new entrants who register, the PIN will be included with the notification letter that indicates your USDOT number (and MC number, for For-Hire carriers). For older motor carriers, the PIN number can be acquired on the Online Update Process page. You will need to enter your USDOT number and credit card information in order to request a PIN, though there is no charge associated with this process. Once you have entered your request, a letter notifying you of your PIN will be sent to the mailing address indicated in your MCMIS record.

    It is important to keep this PIN number secure as it provides you with the means of updating your motor carrier record. If your PIN is lost, forgotten, or compromised, you can follow the PIN link from the Online Update Process page to register for a new PIN.

  • Why do I need to submit my credit card info in order to update?
    you use the MCS-150 form online to update your motor carrier record, you need to submit your credit card to serve as a digital signature. This step serves as a proactive measure to ensure greater security in the handling of your company's information. There is no cost for submitting an update online, and your credit card will not be charged with any fee.

  • Who needs to make updates? Why would I want to use the online update feature?
    may update whenever you need to (for instance whenever there is a change in your address or number of vehicles or drivers), and you must update at least once every two years.

    First, it is important to keep your motor carrier record current. If, for example, you change addresses or acquire additional vehicles or begin carrying hazardous materials, we need to be informed of these changes. If we don’t have current contact information for you, you may miss out on important regulatory notices, industry surveys, and other mailings. If we don’t have accurate vehicle and driver statistics for you, the calculation of your safety rating might be skewed. So whenever a significant change in your operation occurs, it is best to update your information using the fast, easy, and free online process.

    Secondly, if you receive an update letter from the FMCSA, then it is time for your regularly scheduled update. You can complete this required update in the same easy way that you would submit a regular update online. In the past, this has been called the Biennial update. See more information on this topic below.

  • I’ve heard of a biennial update-do I still need to do that?
    The FMCSA requires each motor carrier to file an update every 24 months. This action responds to Section 217 of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. This rule became effective January 1, 2001. You will receive an update letter in the mail that notifies you when it is time for your regularly scheduled update.

  • Do I have to file a biennial update even if my company information has not changed?
    You still must file a biennial update even if your company information has not changed. The biennial update rule states that all motor carriers must file a biennial update every two years. You should access the system, review all the information and press the submit button. Once you've done this, the system will record that you've reviewed the information and you will be in compliance with the biennial update requirement.

  • Are there any cases where a carrier would be exempted from having to file a Biennial Update?
    motor carrier that submits similar information to a State as part of its annual vehicle registration requirement under the Performance and Registration Information Systems Management (PRISM) program complies if it files this information with the appropriate State commercial motor vehicle (CMV) registration office. The states that currently participate in the PRISM program are Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

  • I want to inactivate or reactivate my USDOT number using my PIN. Can I do this?
    carriers can make their USDOT number record inactive online using their PIN, they cannot reactivate inactive records. You will need to send a signed letter on your company letterhead, listing your USDOT number, the name of the company, and what you want to be done with your account. You should send this letter to: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Office of Information Management, MC-RIS, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, D. C. 20590, or you may FAX to 703-280-4003.

    For further assistance, please contact your state division office or call FMCSA Support Services at 1-800-832-5660.

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March 27, 2015