Avoid Fines: Update Your MCS-150 Report

Avoid a $10,000 Fine and Being Shut Down

One of the costly mistakes a transportation company can make is not updating its Motor Carrier Identification Report (MCS-150 Report). This report must be updated every 24-months; failure to do so can lead to a fine up to $10,000 and your company being shut down by the FMCSA. It is important to update this report on a regular basis, not only to avoid the fine, but also to ensure the company’s CSA SMS BASIC scores are accurate.

The federal code that mandates this requirement is 49 CFR 390.19(b)(4). To look at the most current wording, always review regulations at eCFR.gov. This is the Electronic Code of Federal Regulation website maintained by the United States government. When reviewing regulations for transportation, begin at the FMCSA website for guidance, but always review the regulation on the eCFR.gov website to ensure you have the most current version of the regulation. As you can see from Figure 2, the regulations were last updated on December 20, 2018.

Now that you know you must update this report, why is it so important to your operation? The data in this report is used to calculate the company’s CSA SMS scores. If there is inaccurate information in your company’s report, then your scores will be incorrect. Below is an example from Publix SuperMarkets, the store where I buy groceries.

Their listing contains:

  1. The number of power units.
  2. The number of drivers
  3. The MCS-150 Mileage (Year)

All of those numbers determine what group your company is compared to in the CSA SMS system and affects your scoring. Wrong data means wrong scores! Transportation companies that have not updated their MCS-150 reports have wondered why they had scores above the intervention threshold. One of the main reasons was due to the wrong information on their MCS-150 report. So, why is this so bad? Because your auto liability insurance carrier looks at your company’s CSA SMS scores frequently, higher scores can negatively impact the premium rates you pay.

Figure 4

CSA SMS scores are the company’s report card to your insurance company and the DOT. Having the wrong scores can lead to increased premiums and loss of coverage. Underwriters review your scores when they review an insurance application and during policy renewal. An important task to keep your insurance costs down is to keep these scores as accurate as possible. Another is using the Data-Q system to challenge violations. We will discuss the importance of Data-Q in a separate article.

As you can see from Figure 5, the fine for noncompliance can be large and can deactivate the company’s USDOT number. You certainly don’t want that headache!

The best strategy to avoid a fine or deactivation is to maintain a diary system. Every time you update the company’s MCS-150 report, you should immediately mark your calendar to update the report 24-months later. In the example above, I updated my company’s report on January 29, 2019, so the next report update would be January 29, 2021.

But wait! There’s more! You don’t have to wait 24-months to update your company’s MCS-150 report. You are allowed to update it sooner if you have significant changes to the company’s operation. If the number of power units, drivers, or mileage significantly changes, you should update that information on your MCS-150 report. Updated information leads to accurate scores in the CSA SMS system. So, update the report as you see fit. Its free!