The Unified Registration System (URS) was created to simplify and streamline the registration process required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This online process is designed to integrate several different registration procedures to make registering a commercial vehicle more efficient. The URS works as a portal for registration and a database on all regulated organizations and entities, including fleets, motor carriers, intermodal equipment providers (IEPs), and related businesses.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the federal Department of Transportation (DOT), retains safety information for every commercial carrier that drives on public roads. It also keeps a safety record for every trucking company or independent owner-operator. Although it stores several types of documents, the Company Safety Profile (CSP) is by far the most comprehensive.
Interstate commerce and intrastate commerce refer to two different ways of transporting cargo or people. The term interstate means that the commercial truck driver moves cargo or people across state lines. Specifically, it includes the following definitions:
- Between a place inside of a state and a place outside of a state, including outside of the country
- Between two destinations inside of a state going through another state or outside of the country
- Between two places within a state as part of transportation, traffic, or trade that originates or terminates outside of the state or outside of the United States
The term private motor carrier refers to a commercial trucking company that transports the cargo it produces rather than outsourcing the job to another company or independent owner-operator. Businesses that operate as a private motor carrier typically produce, sell, or use the cargo it produces and transports. The main thing that distinguishes a private motor carrier from other types of motor carriers is that they do not deliver anyone else’s goods, and they do not make deliveries for financial compensation.
While all motor carriers must carry a limited amount of liability insurance, this is only the basic requirement and it offers no protection for the goods you carry. You need to carry cargo insurance to guard against financial loss from damage to your cargo while in transit or storage. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truckers who transport household goods and freight forwarders of household goods to carry at least a minimum amount of cargo insurance in case the load becomes damaged or destroyed due to situations beyond the trucker’s control.
Do the terms you hear used in the trucking industry sometimes make it seem like people are speaking a foreign language? They aren’t, of course, but it never hurts to seek clarity to ensure that you’re following all rules depending on the type of trucking business you operate or who you work under. The terms motor carrier, broker, and freight forwarder authority can become especially confusing when you’re new to the business.
Driving a commercial truck like a car hauler under your own authority is an exciting step in your career. You want to do everything right and may wonder if you need to carry larger amounts of auto liability insurance and cargo insurance now that you are no longer leased to a motor carrier. The answer to this question is a definite yes.
The ongoing trucker shortage has led companies of all sizes to actively recruit and hire new drivers – at attractive and appealing rates. In order to secure one of those jobs, though, you need to get your commercial driver’s license, or CDL. Learning more about the different types of commercial drivers licenses makes it easy to determine your training path and make the most effective and efficient decisions for your career.
You’ve done everything right – your drivers are experienced, careful and well-trained, your trucks are well-maintained and up-to-date and everyone is complying with regulatory laws – but you still had an accident. It happens to everyone eventually, and it’s why you have commercial coverage for your fleet of trucks and vans anyway. Learning more about the insurance process can help you get through the aftermath of an accident and move forward.
The term bobtail typically means that a truck has no trailer attached to it. If you work for an employer, that company typically provides primary liability coverage while you are delivering the goods. Since this policy does not cover the times when you are driving but not delivering goods, it is a good idea to obtain bobtail liability insurance for these situations. (It’s really important to have the proper insurance.)