If you have a trucking business, you know that the FMCSA and the DOT are important. Those are the major agencies trucking businesses have to contend with. Now, there’s something called the biennial update. You might wonder how that whole process works. We like answering questions and going over trucking matters, so we’ve put together a list of FAQs about the biennial update for trucking businesses.
4 FAQs about the biennial update in trucking.
1. Do you still have to file the biennial update if there are no changes?
That’s a very reasonable question. Do you have to file a biennial update if there weren’t any changes to your information? Well…yes. You do. Here’s the situation: any entity with a USDOT Number has to file their biennial update according to schedule. (Basically, you have an appointed month in which you’ve got to submit the update, which is due by the last day of that month. We’ll get into the schedule more in a second.)
Now, you can file the biennial update prior to the “due date” of the update. The FMCSA counts an update of the MCS-150 or MCS-150C completed by the motor carrier, IEP, or Hazardous Materials Safety Permit holder filed with in the year prior to the due date as satisfying the biennial update requirement. So, if you’re ahead of the game, you can take care of the biennial update early.
2. When do I have to file the update?
Okay, so next question: when does the update have to be filed? The are a few things to know when it comes to this question.
- The motor carrier or IEP needs to file the appropriate form before it begins to operate.
- When information about the business changes (for example, your address, phone number, email, the number of power units, etc.)
- Every 24 months according to the schedule, which is determined by the last number of the DOT Number.
Now you’re probably wondering about this schedule. If the second to last number is odd, you’re due to do the biennial update every odd year. If the second-to-last number is even, you’re due to do the biennial update every even year. As far as the month you have to file the update in, that’s determined by the last number of your DOT#. Basically, 1 means January, 2 means February, 3 means March and so on until you get to 0, which is October. That’s how it works.
(And if you need to find our the status of your USDOT#, you can search by name or number at the SAFER Company Snapshot.)
3. How to complete the biennial update.
You’ve got a few choices to do the biennial update: email, mail, fax. Here’s the scoop.
Online – You can easily update your registration online if your USDOT# is active.
Email – There’s also a web form you can use to upload your signed MCS-150 form. You’ll get a tracking number by email.
Fax/Mail – You can print your completed MCS-150 form and send it to the address on the form. (You can also fax the signed form if you want.)
You can also call to have an MCS-150 form mailed to you. Then you can either mail it to the address on the form or choose one of the other methods we explained above. Note that you can’t make updates over the phone. A signed form is required.
Another thing to know is that if you do the biennial update online, it’ll be processed immediately. If you use email, fax, or regular mail, it might take 3-4 weeks for the update to process. So, keep that in mind when you’re deciding how you want to do the update.
4. Will I get a head’s up when the update is due?
Another great question: will entities be notified when the update is soon due?
Yes. You should get a warning from the FMCSA a month in advance of the deadline for the update. They’ll mail it to the address on file. So you don’t have to remember all on your own.
So, that’s the scoop about the biennial updates for your trucking business. It’s really important to keep up with your biennial update and stay on schedule. And yes, even when no information has changed, you still have to file it.
Get truck insurance quotes.
Just like it’s important to keep up with your biennial update, it’s also important to get the right truck insurance to protect your business. Our team can help you get quotes. We like to make insurance easy. And along with that, we like helping truck businesses save money on their insurance. It’s what we do. Get in touch with our team by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.