SPECIAL REPORT: What to do about that SSRS/UCR limbo?

| 12/27/2006

Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2006 - The Single State Registration System has been repealed by the U.S. Congress effective Jan. 1, 2007, and at some point during 2007, the SSRS program will be replaced by a new program. That program, called the Unified Carrier Registration Agreement, is being developed now.

The SSRS was a federal registration program for interstate motor carriers authorized to transport property or passengers. Its objective was to ensure that all interstate motor carriers maintain public liability insurance at appropriate levels. Fees were collected on a per-truck basis by the state where the applicant's principle place of business is located or where he or she operates the largest number of trucks.

So what does the for-hire, interstate crowd do in the meantime?

According to a Dec. 22 announcement from Unified Carrier Registration Board of Directors Chairman Avelino A. Gutierrez, there will be no enforcement of any SSRS requirements after Dec. 31, 2006. For-hire motor carriers will not be issued an SSRS receipt for 2007.

The replacement program, UCR, is a program that will have a fee structure that goes from the per-truck basis to a per-carrier basis and will be the same for all the member states. Truckers will no longer have to pick and choose states, as they did with the SSRS system. One fee will cover all states.

Gutierrez' announcement specifies that the new UCR program will apply for for-hire (exempt and regulated) and private motor carriers that operate in interstate commerce. It will also apply to leasing companies, freight forwarders and brokers.

While the UCR program has not been implemented yet, the UCR Board will keep law enforcement informed on how well the program is moving forward via the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and the National Conference of State Transportation Specialists.

The UCR board - which includes OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig - was appointed in May and has been meeting at least once a month. The board members acknowledged at their first meeting that having the UCR program in place by Jan. 1, 2007, was almost impossible and endorsed the efforts of others who asked for an extension of the SSRS program. That extension was not approved.

The effort to extend it is not completely dead as the new Congress could very well pass language that will extend SSRS sometime after the first of the year.

"It's possible, but that may be remote," Craig said, "because the UCR board has made enough progress that we could have a UCR plan in place by middle of 2007."

Craig suggests if you are affected by the change, you should download a copy of the UCR Board memo and also, the directive from the state of Texas. Craig said that while it is for Texas-based carriers only, it is a good example because it actually cites the public law.

Joe Shewmaker of the OOIDA Business Services Department recommends carrying the documents in your truck should it be necessary to share the information with enforcement officers who may be "out of the loop."

"We have been receiving many calls concerning this issue and requests for something that our members can carry in their trucks," Shewmaker said.

Click here for the UCR Board memo. Click here for a copy of the Texas directive. To keep up to date on the progress of the program development, click here.

- By Land Line staff