UCR Program

What is UCR?

The UCR Plan, also known as the INTERSTATE agreement, involves 41 participating states that collectively establish and collect fees from various entities, including motor carriers, motor private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies. This fee structure operates on a calendar year basis, running from January through December. Notably, the UCR fee remains consistent throughout the year and is not prorated. The fees are calculated based on the number of power units within your fleet.
Established under federal law in 2005, the Unified Carrier Registration Plan (UCR) serves as a state revenue-sharing program and interstate compact. It mandates that commercial transportation operations register and pay annual UCR fees if they are involved in interstate or international commerce. A vehicle is considered involved in such commerce if it transports goods or passengers across state or national borders at any point in their journey, even if the vehicle itself does not physically cross state lines.
Participating states in the UCR program receive the funds collected from UCR fees, which are allocated for general purposes, including state highway and safety programs. Each participating state is entitled to a specific amount of revenue for each registration year, up to a state-defined cap. Once a state reaches its cap, any additional revenue is placed into the UCR depository. UCR then redistributes these funds proportionally to other participating states that have not yet reached their cap for that year.

Who needs to file UCR?

Businesses that are obliged to register with UCR typically encompass interstate motor carriers, freight forwarders, brokers, and leasing companies.
The following categories are liable for UCR fees under the law if they engage in INTERSTATE commerce within the United States:

In general, any company that is mandated to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and possesses a US DOT number must also register with UCR if it is involved in interstate or international commerce. Additionally, vehicles registered under the International Registration Plan (IRP) must also be registered under UCR since the IRP specifically applies to interstate commercial vehicles.
To summarize, if you hold a DOT number and your operation involves interstate commerce, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires payment of a UCR (Unified Carrier Registration) fee.

How is Interstate Commerce Defined?

Interstate commerce refers to the movement of goods or passengers across state lines or across the borders of the U.S. This includes movements of goods or passengers across state or national boundaries, but also a movement entirely within a state when that movement is the beginning or continuation of a movement across a state or national border.
Whether a vehicle Is involved with interstate or International Commerce depends on the movement of its CARGO across state or national lines if the goods are passengers being transported cross state or national lines at any point in their journey it is considered interstate Commerce even if the vehicle itself doesn’t actually leave the state, for example transportation companies that take products to docks or airports are considered interstate even if their vehicles never leave the state.

International Impacts

Motor carriers and other entities engaged in interstate and foreign transportation within the United States, even if they lack a primary office in the U.S., are still obligated to pay fees under the UCR Plan. They must select a participating state as their base state and remit the applicable fees to that state, as per 49 U.S.C. 14504a(a)(2)(B)(ii) and (f)(4).

UCR Exemptions

Several exemptions exist within the UCR program, primarily for activities classified as intrastate commerce, which is trade, traffic, or transportation occurring entirely within a single state. In such cases, UCR registration is not required. A vehicle is considered interstate only if it transports goods entirely within the state of origin. The location where a product is manufactured plays a crucial role in determining interstate operations.

Here are some other exemptions from the UCR program:

It’s important to note that carriers may not need to count every vehicle in their fleet for UCR fee calculation. The size of a carrier’s fleet determines its UCR fees. The following types of vehicles are excluded from UCR fee calculations:

Failure to pay all the required UCR fees can have adverse consequences for your business. You may be pulled over while using the roads of a participating state, and your vehicle may not be released until all outstanding fees are settled. Additionally, you may be subject to other penalties in accordance with regulatory requirements.

What is the law governing the UCR agreement?

The UCR Agreement is delineated in 49 United States Code (USC) section 14504a, also referred to as section 14504a or § 14504a.
The foundation of the UCR Agreement is rooted in federal law, specifically the UCR Act, which constitutes part of the federal highway reauthorization legislation known as the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). SAFETEA-LU, Public Law 109-59, was enacted on August 10, 2005. The UCR Act spans sections 4301 through 4308 of SAFETEA-LU. The structural framework of the UCR Agreement can be found in section 4305 of the UCR Act, which introduces §14504a as a new section within Title 49 of the United States Code.
The UCR Agreement has undergone modifications as stipulated in Section 301 of the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008, Public Law 110-244, enacted on June 6, 2008, as well as in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Public Law 110-432, enacted on October 16, 2008.

What is Commercial Motor Vehicles Definition?

For UCR purposes, a commercial motor vehicle is defined as:
A self-propelled vehicle primarily used on highways for transporting passengers or cargo, meeting one of the following criteria:

This definition aligns with the description of a Commercial Motor Vehicle as outlined in the UCR Act (49 U.S. Code § 31101).

Which States are participating in the UCR Agreement?

The participating states in the UCR program are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Which States are NOT participating in the UCR Agreement?

The non-participating States are Arizona, Hawaii, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Wyoming, and Washington D.C.

What is the Base State Under the UCR Agreement?

The UCR Agreement operates on a base-state system, where a UCR registrant pays UCR fees through their designated Base State on behalf of all participating states. To determine your Base State, follow this hierarchy:

If you cannot determine your base state using (1) or (2) above, you should select your base state based on the following criteria: