If your business is involved in trucking and what contractor isn’t, you may have received a notice this year from the U.S. Department of Transportation telling you that you need to update your MCS-150 whether you operate only within the state or not.

This isn’t a mistake or some kind of spam and if you haven’t got a notice yet, don’t worry, you will. The notices are going out every month based on the last number on your USDOT number.

If your company operates heavy-duty diesel trucks, operates solely within California and is involved in the state’s BASIC Inspection of Terminal (BIT) program you’ve been, assigned an “intrastate only” USDOT number. In California, you have the choice to display either a CA number, USDOT number or both on your trucks.

As you had terminal and/or roadside inspections and those reports are submitted to Washington under your USDOT number, the missing data triggers a warning to federal officials that you are operating commercial motor vehicles requiring a commercial driver license and it appears to them you are using unqualified drivers. Since the USDOT is trying to update their computers, they have found a lot of holes in their data—some real, some errors—all of which you have to help fix—hence the form update requests.

Add to that California Senate Bill 838, which became law last year, amending Section 34507.5 of the California Vehicle Code and requiring every motor carrier in California—even if they do not cross state lines—to have a USDOT number and to comply with federal requirements to perform what is termed an MCS-150 update.

Updating your information as requested by the letter you have received from the USDOT can be done electronically online or by a hard copy paper form submission.

If, after looking through the nine pages of instructions, this looks a bit challenging, ECArecommends you contact the Western States Trucking Association (formerly known as the California Dump Truck Owners Association) which is offering assistance to all comers for a very reasonable fee of $25 for members and $49 for non-members: https://secure.westrk.org/PublicSite/MCS150Update.aspx