FMCSA to phase in changes to ‘vehicle registrant only’ designation

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | 9/19/2012

Owner-operators who previously had to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as a “vehicle registrant only” will need to stay tuned for changes coming to that requirement.

Typically, according to OOIDA Business Services Assistant Manager Kip Hough, these “vehicle registrant only” designations were obtained by owner-operators who maintained their own plates on their equipment. The number was required for vehicle licensing. The designation was not full DOT authority registration that allowed owner-operators to run under their own authority.

The agency originally planned to fully implement a requirement on Sept. 1, that would force all current “vehicle registrant only” operations to switch their designation to a motor carrier registration or deactivate the number.

However, an announcement posted to FMCSA’s home page states the agency will phase in the requirement to give those motor carriers – and the states that depended on the DOT “vehicle registrant only” designation – more time.

Some confusion surfaced in the days leading up to the Sept. 1 deadline. Hough explained that switching from “vehicle registrant only” designation to a motor carrier registration number would identify the operation as a “new” motor carrier – thus subject to new entrant safety audits.

Hough said that owner-operators leased to a motor carrier would need to deactivate the number, or simply do nothing and let the designation lapse. However, deactivating the number also opens another can of worms. It will be a state-by-state decision whether there will be additional state registration required in place of the eliminated federal “vehicle registrant only” designation.

The agency will be sending letters to the “vehicle registrant only” designated operations in the coming weeks explaining their options. Also, before obtaining or renewing license plates, it would be advisable to check with the state DMV and see what, if anything new, is required to obtain your plates, Hough advised.

The notice posted to the agency’s website states that a timeline for the phased-in implementation will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days.

Copyright © OOIDA