Two Times You Should Update your MCS-150 with the FMCSA

Posted September 14, 2020 by Erin in Featured, News, Risk Management, Transportation | 0 comments

Two times you should update your MCS-150 with the FMCSA.

One of the updates, the biennial update, is a regulatory requirement and must be completed every 24 months. The other update is optional, but may have a significant positive impact on your CSA scores and safety rating. Please review the following information as it applies to your motor carrier operation.

Biennial Update (Required by Law)

Each motor carrier must file the MCS-150 before it begins operations and every 24 months thereafter per this schedule:

USDOT number                  Must file by the

ending in:                             last day of:

1……………………………………January

2……………………………………February

3……………………………………March

4……………………………………April

5……………………………………May

6……………………………………June

7……………………………………July

8……………………………………August

9……………………………………September

0……………………………………October

 

If the next-to-last digit of your USDOT Number is odd, you must file your MCS-150 update every odd-numbered calendar year. If the next-to-last digit of your USDOT Number is even, you must file your MCS-150 update every even-numbered calendar year. If this is confusing, call me and I will help you determine when your MCS-150 biennial update is due.

Optional Update (Not Required by Law, but May Be Very Beneficial to Your Operations)

There are times when you may receive significant benefits from updating your MCS-150, even when not required to do so. One of the greatest benefits may be realized by correcting any previously under-reported number of power units.

If your operation has grown, and you have increased the number power units (tractors or straight trucks) in your fleet, it would benefit you to update your MCS-150. When the number of power units is under-reported, CSA scores are negatively impacted. The number of reported power units is used to calculate both the Unsafe Driving and Crash BASIC. Within the CSA algorithm for Unsafe Driving and Crash, carrier exposure is determined by dividing CSA points by the average number of power units times a utilization factor. Thus, the more power units a carrier reports, the more violation points are diluted and the lower the CSA score will be.

Conversely, reporting fewer power units may negatively affect your CSA scores. Thus, if you have decreased the number of power units, it would benefit you to wait until the required biennial update to report the lower number. You should always provide accurate information on any required regulatory report. I am encouraging you to take advantage of any regulatory provisions which lawfully benefit your operation. Thus, if it benefits your business to update your MCS-150 now, I encourage you to do so. If updating your MCS-150 will negatively impact your business, then wait until the required biennial update to do so.

Another time when it may benefit you to update your MCS-150 is if the amount of your fleet mileage has changed. Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) for the previous year is reported on the MCS-150. If the reported total is low, your CSA scores in Unsafe Driving and Crash will most likely be higher than they should be.  Through the CSA algorithm, FMCSA actually rewards carriers who travel more miles. However, over-reporting VMT, based on the reported number of power units, may result in a severe penalty applied to the utilization factors for Unsafe Driving and Crash. Thus, a motor carrier actually obtains the most benefit by accurately reporting all miles traveled across their fleet without over-reporting the same.

Two other times when your MCS-150 should be immediately updated are to correct any mistakes which places you in the wrong classification groups of hazardous materials or passenger carrier and to ensure the correct classification of combination units and straight trucks.

If you have any questions about your MCS-150 or if you need any additional information about updating your MCS-150, our in-house Risk Consultant, Kenny Ray is available to assist. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations are complex and have a huge impact on your business.

Kenny Ray, Risk Consultant

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