§ 13902. Registration of motor carriers
(a)Motor Carrier Generally.—
(1)In general.—Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Secretary of Transportation shall register a person to provide transportation subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 as a motor carrier using self-propelled vehicles the motor carrier owns, rents, or leases only if the Secretary determines that the person—
(A) is willing and able to comply with—
(i) this part and the applicable regulations of the Secretary and the Board;
(ii) any safety regulations imposed by the Secretary;
(iii) the duties of employers and employees established by the Secretary under section 31135;
(iv) the safety fitness requirements established by the Secretary under section 31144;
(v) the accessibility requirements established by the Secretary under subpart H of part 37 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations), for transportation provided by an over-the-road bus; and
(vi) the minimum financial responsibility requirements established by the Secretary under sections 13906, 31138, and 31139;
(B) has been issued a USDOT number under section 31134;
(C) has disclosed any relationship involving common ownership, common management, common control, or common familial relationship between that person and any other motor carrier, freight forwarder, or broker, or any other applicant for motor carrier, freight forwarder, or broker registration, if the relationship occurred in the 3-year period preceding the date of the filing of the application for registration; and
(D) after the Secretary establishes a written proficiency examination pursuant to section 32101(b) of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2012, has passed the written proficiency examination.
(2)Additional registration requirements for household goods motor carriers.—In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (1), the Secretary may register a person to provide transportation of household goods as a household goods motor carrier only after that person—
(A) provides evidence of participation in an arbitration program and provides a copy of the notice of the arbitration program as required by section 14708(b)(2);
(B) identifies its tariff and provides a copy of the notice of the availability of that tariff for inspection as required by section 13702(c); and
(C) demonstrates, before being registered, through successful completion of a proficiency examination established by the Secretary, knowledge and intent to comply with applicable Federal laws relating to consumer protection, estimating, consumers’ rights and responsibilities, and options for limitations of liability
(3)Consideration of evidence; findings.—The Secretary shall consider, and to the extent applicable, make findings on any evidence demonstrating that the registrant is unable to comply with any applicable requirement of paragraph (1) or, in the case of a registrant to which paragraph (2) applies, paragraph (1) or (2).
(4)Withholding.—If the Secretary determines that a registrant under this section does not meet, or is not able to meet, any requirement of paragraph (1) or, in the case of a registrant to which paragraph (2) applies, paragraph (1) or (2), the Secretary shall withhold registration.
(5)Limitation on complaints.—The Secretary may hear a complaint from any person concerning a registration under this subsection only on the ground that the registrant fails or will fail to comply with this part, the applicable regulations of the Secretary and the Board (including the accessibility requirements established by the Secretary under subpart H of part 37 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, or such successor regulations to those accessibility requirements as the Secretary may issue, for transportation provided by an over-the-road bus), the safety regulations of the Secretary, or the safety fitness or minimum financial responsibility requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection. In the case of a registration for the transportation of household goods as a household goods motor carrier, the Secretary may also hear a complaint on the ground that the registrant fails or will fail to comply with the requirements of paragraph (2) of this subsection.
(6)Separate registration required.—A motor carrier may not broker transportation services unless the motor carrier has registered as a broker under this chapter.
(b)Motor Carriers of Passengers.—
(1)Registration of private recipients of governmental assistance.—The Secretary shall register under subsection (a)(1) a private recipient of governmental assistance to provide special or charter transportation subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 as a motor carrier of passengers if the Secretary finds that the recipient meets the requirements of subsection (a)(1), unless the Secretary finds, on the basis of evidence presented by any person objecting to the registration, that the transportation to be provided pursuant to the registration is not in the public interest.
(2)Registration of public recipients of governmental assistance.—
(A)Charter transportation.—The Secretary shall register under subsection (a)(1) a public recipient of governmental assistance to provide special or charter transportation subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 as a motor carrier of passengers if the Secretary finds that—
(i) the recipient meets the requirements of subsection (a)(1); and
(ii)(I) no motor carrier of passengers (other than a motor carrier of passengers which is a public recipient of governmental assistance) is providing, or is willing to provide, the transportation; or(II) the transportation is to be provided entirely in the area in which the public recipient provides regularly scheduled mass transportation services.
(B)Regular-route transportation.—The Secretary shall register under subsection (a)(1) a public recipient of governmental assistance to provide regular-route transportation subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 as a motor carrier of passengers if the Secretary finds that the recipient meets the requirements of subsection (a)(1), unless the Secretary finds, on the basis of evidence presented by any person objecting to the registration, that the transportation to be provided pursuant to the registration is not in the public interest.
(C)Treatment of certain public recipients.—Any public recipient of governmental assistance which is providing or seeking to provide transportation of passengers subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 shall, for purposes of this part, be treated as a person which is providing or seeking to provide transportation of passengers subject to such jurisdiction.
(3)Intrastate transportation by interstate carriers.—A motor carrier of passengers that is registered by the Secretary under subsection (a) is authorized to provide regular-route transportation entirely in one State as a motor carrier of passengers if such intrastate transportation is to be provided on a route over which the carrier provides interstate transportation of passengers.
(4)Preemption of state regulation regarding certain service.—No State or political subdivision thereof and no interstate agency or other political agency of 2 or more States shall enact or enforce any law, rule, regulation, standard or other provision having the force and effect of law relating to the provision of pickup and delivery of express packages, newspapers, or mail in a commercial zone if the shipment has had or will have a prior or subsequent movement by bus in intrastate commerce and, if a city within the commercial zone, is served by a motor carrier of passengers providing regular-route transportation of passengers subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135.
(5)Jurisdiction over certain intrastate transportation.—Subject to section 14501(a), any intrastate transportation authorized by this subsection shall be treated as transportation subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 until such time as the carrier takes such action as is necessary to establish under the laws of such State rates, rules, and practices applicable to such transportation, but in no case later than the 30th day following the date on which the motor carrier of passengers first begins providing transportation entirely in one State under this paragraph.
(6)Special operations.—This subsection shall not apply to any regular-route transportation of passengers provided entirely in one State which is in the nature of a special operation.
(7)Suspension or revocation.—Intrastate transportation authorized under this subsection may be suspended or revoked by the Secretary under section 13905 of this title at any time.
(8)Definitions.—In this subsection, the following definitions apply:
(A)Public recipient of governmental assistance.—The term “public recipient of governmental assistance” means—
(i) any State,
(ii) any municipality or other political subdivision of a State,
(iii) any public agency or instrumentality of one or more States and municipalities and political subdivisions of a State,
(iv) any Indian tribe, and
(v) any corporation, board, or other person owned or controlled by any entity described in clause (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv),
which before, on, or after January 1, 1996, received governmental assistance for the purchase or operation of any bus.
(B)Private recipient of government assistance.—The term “private recipient of government assistance” means any person (other than a person described in subparagraph (A)) who before, on, or after January 1, 1996, received governmental financial assistance in the form of a subsidy for the purchase, lease, or operation of any bus.
(c)Restrictions on Motor Carriers Domiciled in or Owned or Controlled by Nationals of a Contiguous Foreign Country.—
(1)Prevention of discriminatory practices.—If the President, or the delegate thereof, determines that an act, policy, or practice of a foreign country contiguous to the United States, or any political subdivision or any instrumentality of any such country is unreasonable or discriminatory and burdens or restricts United States transportation companies providing, or seeking to provide, motor carrier transportation to, from, or within such foreign country, the President or such delegate may—
(A) seek elimination of such practices through consultations; or
(B) notwithstanding any other provision of law, suspend, modify, amend, condition, or restrict operations, including geographical restriction of operations, in the United States by motor carriers of property or passengers domiciled in such foreign country or owned or controlled by persons of such foreign country.
(2)Equalization of treatment.—Any action taken under paragraph (1)(A) to eliminate an act, policy, or practice shall be so devised so as to equal to the extent possible the burdens or restrictions imposed by such foreign country on United States transportation companies.
(3)Removal or modification.—The President, or the delegate thereof, may remove or modify in whole or in part any action taken under paragraph (1)(A) if the President or such delegate determines that such removal or modification is consistent with the obligations of the United States under a trade agreement or with United States transportation policy.
(4)Protection of existing operations.—Unless and until the President, or the delegate thereof, makes a determination under paragraph (1) or (3), nothing in this subsection shall affect—
(A) operations of motor carriers of property or passengers domiciled in any contiguous foreign country or owned or controlled by persons of any contiguous foreign country permitted in the commercial zones along the United States-Mexico border as such zones were defined on December 31, 1995; or
(B) any existing restrictions on operations of motor carriers of property or passengers domiciled in any contiguous foreign country or owned or controlled by persons of any contiguous foreign country or any modifications thereof pursuant to section 6 of the Bus Regulatory Reform Act of 1982.
(5)Publication; comment.—Unless the President, or the delegate thereof, determines that expeditious action is required, the President shall publish in the Federal Register any determination under paragraph (1) or (3), together with a description of the facts on which such a determination is based and any proposed action to be taken pursuant to paragraph (1)(B) or (3), and provide an opportunity for public comment.
(6)Delegation to secretary.—The President may delegate any or all authority under this subsection to the Secretary, who shall consult with other agencies as appropriate. In accordance with the directions of the President, the Secretary may issue regulations to enforce this subsection.
(7)Civil actions.—Either the Secretary or the Attorney General may bring a civil action in an appropriate district court of the United States to enforce this subsection or a regulation prescribed or order issued under this subsection. The court may award appropriate relief, including injunctive relief.
(8)Limitation on statutory construction.—This subsection shall not be construed as affecting the requirement for all foreign motor carriers and foreign motor private carriers operating in the United States to comply with all applicable laws and regulations pertaining to fitness, safety of operations, financial responsibility, and taxes imposed by section 4481 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
(1)In general.—Pending the implementation of the rulemaking required by section 13908, the Secretary may register a person under this section—
(A) as a motor common carrier if such person would have been issued a certificate to provide transportation as a motor common carrier under this subtitle on December 31, 1995; and
(B) as a motor contract carrier if such person would have been issued a permit to provide transportation as a motor contract carrier under this subtitle on such day.
(2)Definitions.—In this subsection, the terms “motor common carrier” and “motor contract carrier” have the meaning such terms had under section 10102 as such section was in effect on December 31, 1995.
(3)Termination.—This subsection shall cease to be in effect on the transition termination date.
(e)Penalties for Failure To Comply With Registration Requirements.—In addition to other penalties available under law, motor carriers that fail to register their operations as required by this section or that operate beyond the scope of their registrations may be subject to the following penalties:
(1)Out-of-service orders.—If, upon inspection or investigation, the Secretary determines that a motor carrier providing transportation requiring registration under this section is operating without a registration or beyond the scope of its registration, the Secretary may order the motor carrier operations out-of-service. Subsequent to the issuance of the out-of-service order, the Secretary shall provide an opportunity for review in accordance with section 554 of title 5, United States Code; except that such review shall occur not later than 10 days after issuance of such order.
(2)Permission for operations.—A person domiciled in a country contiguous to the United States with respect to which an action under subsection (c)(1)(A) or (c)(1)(B) is in effect and providing transportation for which registration is required under this section shall maintain evidence of such registration in the motor vehicle when the person is providing the transportation. The Secretary shall not permit the operation in interstate commerce in the United States of any motor vehicle in which there is not a copy of the registration issued pursuant to this section.
(f)Modification of Carrier Registration.—
(1)In general.—On and after the transition termination date, the Secretary—
(A) may not register a motor carrier under this section as a motor common carrier or a motor contract carrier;
(B) shall register applicants under this section as motor carriers; and
(C) shall issue any motor carrier registered under this section after that date a motor carrier certificate of registration that specifies whether the holder of the certificate may provide transportation of persons, household goods, other property, or any combination thereof.
(2)Pre-existing certificates and permits.—The Secretary shall redesignate any motor carrier certificate or permit issued before the transition termination date as a motor carrier certificate of registration. On and after the transition termination date, any person holding a motor carrier certificate of registration redesignated under this paragraph may provide both contract carriage (as defined in section 13102(4)(B)) and transportation under terms and conditions meeting the requirements of section 13710(a)(1). The Secretary may not, pursuant to any regulation or form issued before or after the transition termination date, make any distinction among holders of motor carrier certificates of registration on the basis of whether the holder would have been classified as a common carrier or as a contract carrier under—
(A) subsection (d) of this section, as that section was in effect before the transition termination date; or
(B) any other provision of this title that was in effect before the transition termination date.
(3)Transition termination date defined.—In this section, the term “transition termination date” means the first day of January occurring more than 12 months after the date of enactment of the Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005.
(g)Motor Carrier Defined.—In this section and sections 13905 and 13906, the term “motor carrier” includes foreign motor private carriers.
(h)Update of Registration.—
(1)In general.—The Secretary shall require a registrant to update its registration under this section not later than 30 days after a change in the registrant’s address, other contact information, officers, process agent, or other essential information, as determined by the Secretary.
(2)Motor carriers of passengers.—In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), the Secretary shall require a motor carrier of passengers to update its registration information, including numbers of vehicles, annual mileage, and individuals responsible for compliance with Federal safety regulations quarterly for the first 2 years after being issued a registration under this section.
(i)Registration as Freight Forwarder or Broker Required.—A motor carrier registered under this chapter—
(1) may only provide transportation of property with—
(A) self-propelled motor vehicles owned or leased by the motor carrier; or
(B) interchanges under regulations issued by the Secretary if the originating carrier—
(i) physically transports the cargo at some point; and
(ii) retains liability for the cargo and for payment of interchanged carriers; and
(2) may not arrange transportation except as described in paragraph (1) unless the motor carrier has obtained a separate registration as a freight forwarder or broker for transportation under section 13903 or 13904, as applicable.
(j)Mexico-Domiciled Motor Carriers.—Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, upon an order in accordance with section 324(a) of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act, the Secretary shall carry out the relief specified by denying or imposing limitations on a request for registration or capping the number of requests for registration by Mexico-domiciled motor carriers of cargo to operate beyond the municipalities along the United States-Mexico international border and the commercial zones of those municipalities as directed.
(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, § 103, Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 880; amended Pub. L. 104–287, § 5(32), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3391; Pub. L. 106–159, title II, § 205, Dec. 9, 1999, 113 Stat. 1762; Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, §§ 4113(b), 4204, 4303(c), Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1725, 1753, 1762; Pub. L. 110–291, § 2, July 30, 2008, 122 Stat. 2915; Pub. L. 112–141, div. C, title II, §§ 32101(a), 32107(a), 32111, 32915, 32921(a), July 6, 2012, 126 Stat. 777, 781, 783, 820, 827; Pub. L. 114–94, div. A, title V, § 5508(a)(1), Dec. 4, 2015, 129 Stat. 1554; Pub. L. 116–113, title III, § 326(a), Jan. 29, 2020, 134 Stat. 60.)