DOT Compliance Services

Every motor carrier is required to update their details with FMCSA every two years.

Types of Updates:

A Regular Update
Vehicle Miles Traveled Outdated
Going Out of Business
Reactivate USDOT Number
Edit In Between Regular Update

Biennial Update (also know as BU or MCS-150 update)

Are you filing the update as mandated?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires private, exempt for-hire, and forhire motor carriers of passengers or cargo to update their information every two years based on the last two digits of their USDOT Number. Even if your business has had no significant changes in the past, ceased interstate operations since the last update, or is no longer in business, you must file this update.

However, brokers and freight forwarders are NOT required to file the biennial update every two years. If you have any changes, such as a name or address change, you must file a 5889 form.

What are the Fines And Penalties For Non-Compliance?

You risk being fined $1,000 per day up to a maximum of $10,000.
The FMCSA can deactivate your USDOT number.

Are You Going Out of Business or No Longer Using Your USDOT number?

Shutting Down Operations

You should file “Out of Business” within 30 days of going out of business or if you are still in business but no longer using your USDOT number. The only way to deactivate your number is by filing an MCS-150 form. You cannot just call the FMCSA and tell them you are no longer using it.

Need To Know

Update Every Two Years

A carrier must provide this update every two years – even if the company has not changed its information, has ceased Interstate operations since the last update, or is no longer in business, and you did not notify the FMCSA.

When Are Biennial Updates Due?

If the next-to-last digit of your USDOT number is odd, you file in odd-numbered years. If it is even, you file in even-numbered years. The last digit tells you the month it is due; 1: January, 2: February, 0: October.

Edits

Any changes/updates that occur outside your required biennial update month and year, such as adding or removing drivers or vehicles, are considered an “Edit.” You should file an edit within 30 days of the change happening.

VMT Outdated

This can easily be overlooked when filing your biennial update. If you fail to update your “Vehicle Miles Traveled,” you will be flagged as “VMT outdated” in the FMCSA’s database. Accurately reflecting your mileage is extremely important because it is used to calculate Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Unsafe Driving and Safety Improvement Categories or “BASICs” percentiles. Incorrect information can negatively affect your Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores, which could negatively impact your insurance premiums.

Edit Update

Any time information changes regarding your business operation, such as the business address, phone number, business name, or other details, you should promptly update your USDOT with FMCSA by filing an Edit.

Reactivation

If you previously filed “Out of Business” or were deactivated by the FMCSA and want to start using your number again you will need to file an MCS-150 form to “Reactivate” your USDOT number.

Filing Your Biennial Update CAN Be Simple!

The last two digits of your USDOT number determine your renewal date.
Have all the necessary information required to complete the form. Including the combined estimated mileage on ALL CMVs from the previous 12 months.
Remember, the biennial update is the MINIMUM requirement if nothing changes with your operation. Still, you must file an Edit if anything changes between your biennial filings.

Am I Exempt From Filing A Biennial Update?

For private, exempt for-hire, and for-hire motor carriers of passengers or cargo, there are currently NO exemptions from filing a biennial update (this includes Ag-exempt farmers). If you have a USDOT number, you must keep it up-to-date OR file an “Out of Business” if you are no longer using it. Even if you find out you don’t NEED a USDOT number, if it’s active in the FMCSA database, you must update or deactivate it.

Brokers and freight forwarders are NOT required to file the biennial update every two years. If you have any changes, such as a name or address change, you must file a 5889 form.

Need To Know:

The following are things you need to be aware of:

Biennial updates are not due based on the “anniversary” date of when you received your USDOT number but are due every two years as determined by the last two digits of your number. That means it is possible to get your USDOT number and have to file your BU a few months later.
Even if nothing has changed with your business since your last filing, you must still file your BU when it is due.
The FMCSA requires that they be notified within 30 days of ANY change of operation between filing dates (e.g., address, phone number, driver or vehicle changes, or operation changes).
Failure to notify the FMCSA of any changes may subject you to fines and deactivation of your USDOT number.

Have You Checked For Inaccuracies?

Inaccurate Information Can Cost Big Money!

If any information filled out by you on the form is incorrect or you leave out any information, it can negatively impact your business. In the following situations, you will need to submit a new updated MCS-150 form.

Whenever you add a new truck or vehicle to your fleet
Whenever you change the name of your company
When you make other significant changes in your organization or structure

Frequently Asked Questions:

I just got my USDOT number a few months ago. Why am I getting calls, emails, and letters telling me I am out of compliance and need to file my biennial update?
These calls, emails, and letters can confuse carriers, especially new entrant carriers. The important thing to know is your USDOT number is created at random. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say the current date is August 1st, 2023. Because your USDOT number is created randomly, if you get your new USDOT number just a few months earlier, in May of 2023, and the last two digits of their USDOT number end in “58,” the official biennial update is currently due because we are presently in August in an odd-numbered year.

In other words, the biennial update is not due based on the anniversary date of when a carrier received the USDOT number but is due every two years as determined by the last two digits of their USDOT number. The last digit tells you what month it is due in (8=, the month of August,) and the Next to the last digit tells you if you file in an odd or even year (5= an odd number, so you would file in August of odd-numbered years.)

Why am I getting calls, emails, and letters telling me I am out of compliance and need to file my biennial update? I've only had my USDOT number for a few months, and I know I don't have to file my update until I've had my USDOT Number for two years.
These calls, emails, and letters can confuse carriers, especially new entrant carriers. The important thing to know is your USDOT number is created at random. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say the current date is August 1st, 2023. Because your USDOT number is created randomly, if you get your new USDOT number just a few months earlier, in May of 2023, and the last two digits of their USDOT number end in “58,” the official biennial update is currently due because we are presently in August in an odd-numbered year.

In other words, the biennial update is not due based on the anniversary date of when a carrier received the USDOT number but is due every two years as determined by the last two digits of their USDOT number. The last digit tells you what month it is due in (8=, the month of August,) and the Next to the last digit tells you if you file in an odd or even year (5= an odd number, so you would file in August of odd-numbered years.)

I used to have a USDOT Number a few years ago, but I closed down my business and deactivated my number. I want to start my business again. Do I have to apply for a new USDOT Number?
No, you do not need to apply for a new USDOT number. Your USDOT is yours for life. You can reactivate your number by filing a reapplication using the MCS-150 form. DOT Compliance Group can assist you with this filing, answer any questions, and take care of any other necessary compliance services.
What is the difference between an “official” biennial update and an “edit”?
An official biennial update can only be done within the month and year due as dictated by the last two digits of the USDOT number. An “edit” is an update done any time BEFORE the official biennial update is due. For instance, if you were to file your biennial update at the beginning of the year in January, but it isn’t due until March of the same year, that would be considered an “edit” and not your official biennial update. In this case, filing too soon is not a good thing.