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E-filing of US DOT might seem like a mumbo jumbo with twisted fine print and unending compliances. If you're new to e-filing of US DOT, read ahead to navigate the filing process
If you own a registered commercial vehicle in the US, then you would know how the application and registration process for US DOT (Department of Transportation) can be a long, detailed, and exceptionally involved process. There are many questions to answer - do you transport passengers, do you operate between multiple states? Do you often haul items that weigh more than your existing carrying capacity? If your answers to these questions are a yes, then you require the DOT number provided to you by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). For the same, you need to go ahead and file an MCS-150 with the FMCSA, also known as the Motor Carrier Identification Report.
At Flatworld Solutions, we act as a single-stop service for the e-filing of US DOT by helping you register quickly and effectively without facing any of the potential pitfalls. We have worked with hundreds of companies for DOT filings, and we can process hundreds of DOT applications smoothly and within the given time based on our experience and professionalism.
What is US DOT and How Does it Affect You?
The MCS-150 form which is filed as part of US Dot filing is essential since it helps specify the type of vehicle and cargo you carry. It allows you to disclose if you haul hazardous or publicly-limited substances, passengers, etc. it allows you to swiftly travel through border checkpoints as it simplifies the verification altogether.
FMCSA becomes aware of your business only by filing the MCS-150 form. In this form, it's important to specify the type of cargo that is being hauled. It's imperative to disclose if you are hauling hazardous material, passenger, etc. Other information like fleet size and vehicle mileage must also be furnished in the form. When the information is submitted, verification of the same becomes easier with just a US DOT number. It also makes it simpler for authorities to carry out inspections, and compliance checks without stopping your cargo for a long time.
If you or your company operates commercial vehicles, you are required by law to sport a US DOT number on your vehicle as well, so you need to ensure all your vehicles are suitably tagged.
US DOT Filing and the Importance of Biennial Update
According to the FMCSA, all fleet operators are required to file updates for US DOT once every two years. This holds for operational vehicles, currently hauling loads, or having stopped fleet operations altogether.
In case operators or companies fail to file the biennial update, their US DOT number can get confiscated and they can be fined a penalty of $1,000 per day to a max of up to $10,000.
Luckily, it is fairly easy to figure out when the time is arriving to file the US DOT update. The last two digits which are a part of your US DOT number tells the year and month when you should file the update.
The second to last digit, it is an even digit, tells you that you should file the biennial update every calendar year having an even number.
The last digit in the DOT number indicates the month in which you need to file the biennial update.
US Dot e-filing - Things to Keep In Mind
While a majority of corporations are aware of US DOT, few understand the importance of it and how it can directly affect the efficiency of their business. Some of the key things to know about how to e-file US dot include -
One of the most important reasons for DOT filings is that it helps the FMCSA to calculate a safety score in BASICS (Behavior Analysis & Safety Improvement Categories) such as safety, compliance, and accountability (CSA score). You should take care to avoid deliberate errors before filing for US DOT else your performance scores will repeatedly go down. US DOT also ensures compliance with HMR (Hazardous Materials Regulations) and FMCSR (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations), both equally important for regulating carrier responsibility and safety in the US.
A carrier or a company must file US DOT every 2 years, failing which they can incur heavy penalties.
Who Needs to Get a US DOT Number?
US Dot E-filing is compulsory if your company holds permits for -
Hazardous Material Safety
Motor Carrier Operation
Intermodal Equipment Provider
Ideally, you must have a US DOT number if your business operations rely heavily on interstate commerce and qualify in either one of the following undermentioned areas -
You haul 9-15 passengers including the driver
You shuttle more than 16+ passengers
You own vehicles and trucks weighing above 10,000 lbs
You freight hazardous substances or pharmaceuticals
How do you e-file US DOT?
As of now, to update their respective US DOT numbers, companies, truckers, and carrier companies can only use the MCS-150 form. To do so, one must also first be a member of the URS (Unified Registration System). To update US DOT number, you need to -
Fill up the MCS-150 form with proper particulars and correct information before submitting it online
You can also scan and upload a completed MCS-150 form on the FMCSA website if you deal with a lot of offline paperwork
You can also choose to complete the MCS-150 form on paper, sign it, and then send the hard copy to the FMCSA via mail
You are also provided with the option of sending a complete MCS-150 form via fax
While all the above methods work when it comes to filing for US DOT, the online filing method is the only one that allows you to edit information and has binary questions that simplify the entire process. For a normal user, it takes on an average of close to 20 minutes to complete the form.
Why Outsource Filing US DOT?
If your organization needs assistance with US DOT filing or application assistance then outsourcing the e-filing of US DOT is the best alternative. Companies like Flatworld Solutions have the skill and bandwidth to streamline the regularization of your US DOT filing process. They help in the following areas -
Filing a New US DOT Number
An outsourcing company has the experience in serving interstate commerce businesses by guiding them and e-Filing US DOT numbers for their entire fleet.
Biennial US DOT Renewal
Every trucking company must fill out the Motor Carrier Identification Report and update their information online or offline for a new US DOT number, even if there are zero changes in their operation or company status. Outsourcing companies help out in the process and ensure all trucks are accounted for with renewed US DOTs as per the schedule without requiring you to check up on the same.
Initial and Annual US DOT Registration Filing
According to law, all interstate carriers must complete US DOT-related paperwork initially, and yearly thereafter. This procedure is time-consuming because the entire fleet must be accounted for, so outsourcing lets you focus on more important things.
Application for MC Number
More often than not, you will need the support of more than one US operating authority to support your claims. An outsourcing company files multiple MC /MX/ FF numbers on your behalf so your paperwork is well-organized for subsequent US DOT filing.
Reinstatement of MC Number
Sometimes, MC numbers are rejected, especially if you operate passenger carriers which were found to be hazardous or have received an unsatisfactory rating. Outsourcing companies help you by requesting reinstatement of the MC number in certain cases and file legal proceedings for the same, ensuring all your forms are properly filled up and the necessary insurance policies are applied for.
United Carrier Registration
Outsourcing helps trucking companies file for UCRs which is especially helpful if you are regularly operating cargo across multiple states.
BOC-3 Process Agent Filing
A process agent acts as a representative to whom court papers and legal filings are served once a proceeding is brought against carriers and freight forwarders. For the same, you need to designate a process agent. An outsourcing company files for BOC-3 forms to designate such process agents against your name.
MC and UCR Bulk Registration and Procurement
Outsourcing companies can help with the bulk filing of MC and UCR applications for trucking companies in the US while ensuring all documentation is pre-approved and ready to go.
US DOT Filing Consultation
US DOT consultants from outsourcing companies help in maximizing the efficiency of your fleet while ensuring all regulations are adhered to when operating your business in the USA. For the same, they help you organize paperwork for FMCSA, regularly update your details for necessary filings, etc.
Outsource E-filing of US DOT to Flatworld Solutions
Flatworld Solutions is an ISO 9001:2015 certified insurance BPO services provider. We have a tremendous experience that you can count upon to ensure compliance with regulations. In the severely competitive business atmosphere of today, you stand to lose an edge as well as risk money if there is any delay in filing for US DOT. With all the daily activities of a general trucking and freight forwarding company such as truck scheduling, disbursing salaries, and figuring out routing options, you may find DOT compliance take a backseat.
This is where we step in, as with our experience and efficiency in handling US DOT filings for multiple US clients, we can ensure proper adherence to regulations as and when you need it.