Does your organization currently utilize commercial truck rental as part of its fleet management strategy? If so, do the rental trucks have apportioned license plates? If your trucks have them, you’re most likely in good hands with your truck rental company. If your trucks don’t have them or if you’re not familiar with the terms “apportioned license plates,” “apportioned registration” or “International Registration Plan” (IRP), then read on.
What are Apportioned License Plates?
Apportioned license plates, apportioned registration, and International Registration Plan (IRP) are closely related. They allow commercial vehicles to operate in two or more jurisdictions. Each state receives a “portion” of the vehicle’s registration fees based on the miles traveled in that particular state. Apportioned plates are license plates issued to commercial vehicles and are affixed to the truck. Apportioned registration is the official registration within the state the fleet is based. For instance, the state of Utah’s code for Apportioned Registration (41-1a-301) reads:
An owner or operator of a Utah-based fleet of commercial vehicles operating in two or more jurisdictions may apply for an apportioned registration. This registration allows commercial vehicles to comply with registration requirements of more than one jurisdiction and to pay registration fees based on the percentage of operation in those jurisdictions.
The International Registration Plan, commonly referred to as IRP, is a federally encouraged program and vehicle registration agreement between the states within the United States and the provinces within Canada.
Why are Apportioned Plates Helpful?
Having apportioned plates means your fleet can travel interstate without the worry of registering in each new state while avoiding hefty fines for traveling interstate without appropriate registration.
What Could Happen if You Don’t Have Apportioned Plates?
If your fleet does not have apportioned plates and is not registered in the state where it is conducting business, it could result in fines as high as (and in some cases higher) $1,000 per vehicle. That can be significant, especially when operating a large fleet.
“We’ve seen some sizable fines in the industry for not having the commercial trucks appropriately registered in the jurisdiction in which they operate,” said Crystal Jones, the Fleet Services Manager at Flex Fleet Rental (FFR). “Fortunately for us at FFR, we utilize the apportioned license plates so our customers never have issues.”
Jones went on to say, “We made the decision to register apportioned plates with our entire fleet specifically to make the process as easy as possible for our customers.”
What is the Difference Between IFTA and IRP?
IRP is a program that allows different states to oversee their roads. Commercial vehicles like trucks travel frequently and can wear down a road over time. IRP fees allow states to cover the cost of this damage based on how much a vehicle travels through that state. IFTA stands for International Fuel Tax Agreement. Similarly to the IRP, the IFTA measures miles traveled in each state. Unlike the IRP, the money collected under the IFTA does not go to the same place nor is it used for the same purposes. The IFTA is more concerned with fuel taxes than wear and tear on the roads. Essentially a portion of fuel taxes will be allocated to the state that you travel in the most, not the state where you purchased the fuel.
How Do I Get Apportioned Plates?
There are 4 steps that need to be taken to get apportioned plates.
- The first step is to get registered with the FMCA. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA) requires that companies like Flex Fleet register with them. This includes all companies that rent commercial vehicles for business or personal use.
- The second step is to get a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. Federal regulations require that vehicles transporting cargo over state lines register for a USDOT number.
- The third step is to get an IFTA permit. This permit can be acquired from your local IFTA Department.
- The fourth step is to get all forms from your local IRP office. Once you have completed these forms, you will receive your apportioned plates.
Other Benefits of Renting From Flex Fleet Rental
Aside from the apportioned license plates that Flex Fleet Rental registers for all its vehicles, it offers many other benefits for commercial truck rental including:
- Single Point of Contact
- Taxes and Tax Compliance
- GPS Tracking Program
- Nationwide Delivery
Is commercial truck rental part of your fleet management strategy? If so, be sure to rent from companies that utilize apportioned registration as part of their program. Not only can it save you from hefty fines, but it can save you time in registering the trucks yourself.
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