Motor Carriers



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Unified registration system rule effective dates changed  
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Unified carrier registration homepage update

The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) System homepage has been updated. The site features a new, more professional look. For example, the homepage map of the United States is blue and grey in color. The change provides users with easier site navigation. In addition to the visual changes to the website, our system has been updated to Internet Explorer 10. This makes it easier to access the site.  
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IFTA / IRP filing

IFTA/IRP filing

Oversize / Overweight / Trip permits

Oversize/Overweight permits





Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)

Each year, interstate carriers, leasing companies, brokers, and freight forwarders who cross the state line while operating a self-propelled or towed vehicle on highways in commerce that meets one of the conditions listed below are required to obtain a Unified Carrier Registration (UCR).
  • It has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of at least 10,001 pounds, whichever is greater.
  • It is designed to transport more than 10 passengers, including the driver.
  • It is transporting USDOT-regulated hazardous material that requires placarding.

The enforcement date to register for a 2015 UCR is: Jan. 1, 2015. Failing to file and pay the registration fee can result in a citation and fine.

Filing for a UCR

In as little as 10 minutes, carriers can renew and pay for their UCR from any computer or smartphone with Internet access. Before you start, be sure you:
  • Know the USDOT number.
  • Have a credit card or checkbook available.
  • Are aware that the computer session will timeout if there is significant idle time. If that happens, close the Internet window and begin the process again.
If a carrier is no longer in operation or never crosses the state line and wishes to avoid further UCR renewal notices, the carrier must inactivate or update its USDOT number.

View Instructions for completing the UCR registration, updating the USDOT number, or inactivating the USDOT number.

If you do not want, or are unable, to use the method listed above, please call the FMCSA Support Services line at 800-832-5660 during regular business hours (EST).

Begin your UCR registration process at





Motor carrier seminars and motor vehicle presentations

To request a presentation or educational program, please contact:

Motor Vehicle Enforcement
P.O. Box 10473
Des Moines, IA 50306-0473
Telephone:  515-237-3135
Fax:  515-237-3387

Motor carrier seminars

The Iowa DOT's Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement provides training seminars that are required by Iowa law for carriers requesting liquid and/or passenger for hire authority. Successful completion of this course satisfies the Iowa Code requirement.

The required $200 fee will allow a carrier to register and send up to three personnel from their operation.

This one-day seminar will assist the carrier in awareness and understanding of what rules, regulations and laws they are required to comply with in relation to commercial vehicle operations.

Motor vehicle presentations

The Iowa DOT's Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement may provide presentations on specific topics as requested. Topics such as commercial driver's license, hours of service, equipment inspection criteria, weight laws, and duties of motor vehicle enforcement officers are some of the more common requests.

Requests will be handled according to staffing levels. Staff from the Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement will tailor requested programs to fit time constraints, schedules and dates.

Trucking companies, service clubs, associations and law enforcement agencies continue to utilize the availability of these presentations.

Related websites

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) home page
FMCSA's Education and Technical Assistance Program
Hazardous materials safety - Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance



About the Motor Vehicle Division

Office of Driver Services

The Office of Driver Services is comprised of several groups that handle driver’s licensing, records, and identification credentials for Iowans as well as driver safety education. In addition to the 19 Iowa DOT driver's license issuance sites managed by the office, it supports 81 county treasurer’s office locations that also issue driver’s licenses and identification cards.

The nature of driver’s licensing and identification authentication is becoming more complex. To meet the challenge, this office has focused on taking an innovative approach. For instance, many services are now available online, including license or ID renewal, mailing address changes, driving record access.

Office of Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services

The Office of Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services oversees a wide range of regulations related to vehicle titling and registration, dealer licensing, salvage theft, personalized and specialty license plates, oversize/overweight permitting, transit fuel, intrastate travel authority, commercial vehicle registration, and the commercial fuel tax. The office also manages international agreements that allow carriers to operate in other member jurisdictions without contacting each jurisdiction individually.

Many other government agencies, as well as private companies, work closely with this office. For instance, the vehicle registration and titling system for the entire state network of counties and dealers is managed by this office.

Investigative Bureau


Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement

Iowa motor vehicle enforcement officer duties

OMVE badge
A motor vehicle enforcement officer is a peace officer whose primary duty is to enforce all state and federal regulations that apply to commercial vehicles travelling Iowa's roadways. Some of the laws enforced relate to the following.
  • State and federal motor carrier safety regulations
  • State and federal hazardous materials regulations
  • Driver qualifications/driver licensing
  • Vehicle registration
  • Overweight and over-dimensional vehicles
  • Fuel tax compliance
  • Shipping papers
  • Travel authority
  • Liability insurance

Job duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Inspecting commercial vehicles and drivers to determine compliance with state and federal laws relating to driver qualification, hours of service, driver licensing, vehicle size, weight and vehicle safety compliance.
  • Enforcing traffic laws to promote safety, reduce crashes and expedite traffic flow.
  • Assisting other law enforcement officers when requested or when situation dictates.
  • Preparing and testifying in court to present the facts surrounding any civil, criminal or departmental action.

History of Iowa motor vehicle enforcement

OMVE badge
In 1941, engineers of the Iowa State Highway Commission became concerned with the increasing number of overweight trucks that would, over time, contribute greatly to a gradual destruction of Iowa highways. A decision was made to pursue legislation for the highway commission to designate certain employees as peace officers to enforce violations regarding weight and size. On April 16, 1941, such a proposal was signed into law by Governor Wilson, and on July 1 of that same year the traffic weight officer of the highway commission became reality.

The Iowa Department of Transportation was formed by an act of the Iowa Legislature effective July 1, 1975. Officers of the Iowa Commerce Commission, traffic weight officers of the highway commission, and the motor vehicle investigators from the Iowa Department of Public Safety were combined as the Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement.

Responsibilities of the uniformed officer continued to include enforcement of the laws relating to size, weight, registration and authority. Responsibilities of the investigators included enforcement of the laws relating to vehicle registration, dealer licensing and motor vehicle inspection. All officers and investigators are required to successfully complete the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy's basic training requirements.

From the early 1980s to the present additional duties have been added to the uniformed officer's existing responsibilities, including Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, hazardous materials regulations, and the use of untaxed fuel. Investigators have taken on odometer tampering, driver license fraud, use tax investigations and salvage theft examinations.

Modern technology, including weigh-in-motion, portable scales, weapons, preliminary breath testers, pen-based computers and mobile data transmission capabilities in the patrol cars have been added to enhance the motor vehicle officer position.

Training, including the North American Standard Inspection class, hazardous materials and cargo tank courses, firearms training, self-defense classes, and a 14-week field training officer program for new officers, has added to the professionalism of the office.

In 1993, two new weigh stations were opened in Dallas and Jasper counties. These facilities include the latest in technology with computerized work stations, in-line ramp weigh-in-motion technology, and license plate readers. In 2000, a new state-of-the-art mainline weigh-in-motion scale was opened in Fremont County.

The Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement includes 130 officers and investigators dedicated to highway safety.

Career opportunities for a motor vehicle enforcement officer

In order to become an Iowa motor vehicle enforcement officer, persons must successfully complete the following four required tests.
  1. Fitness (Cooper Standards)
  2. P.O.S.T (Peace Officer Selection Test)
  3. M.M.P.I (Minnesota Multiphasic Psychological Evaluation)
  4. Oral Board
  5. Polygraph

Certified Iowa peace officers are not required to a fitness test, as per Iowa Admin. Code r. 501-2.3(80B).  All applicants must successfully complete motor vehicle enforcement fitness requirements.

Applicants are responsible for all personal costs (e.g., transportation, lodging, meals) incurred during the testing process.

As peace officers with statewide jurisdiction, the primary job responsibility of a motor vehicle enforcement officer is enforcement of commercial motor vehicle laws, rules and regulations.

Law Enforcement Careers with Motor Vehicle Enforcement brochure

Minimum qualifications

Applicant must:
  • Be a United States citizen and become an Iowa resident.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Possess a valid Iowa driver's license.
  • Possess a high school diploma or general education development (GED) diploma.
  • Be in acceptable physical and mental condition to perform his/her duties under physically demanding conditions.
  • Have uncorrected vision no worse than 20/100 in each eye, corrected to 20/20 in each eye.
  • Have normal color vision as prescribed by Iowa Law Enforcement Academy rules: Color vision is determined by the pseudoischromatic plates tests such as, but not limited to, the American Optical Co. (Required identification of 14 out of 18 plates.)
  • Have normal hearing in each ear. (Hearing is considered normal when tested by an audiometer and hearing sensitivity thresholds are within 25 db measured at 1000 hz, 2000 hz and 3000 hz averaged together.)
  • Have no history of epilepsy.
  • Have refrained from unlawful use or experimentation of any drug. Unlawful use or experimentation of marijuana or steroids may disqualify an applicant.
  • Not have a conviction of domestic assault.
  • Be willing to relocate.
  • Pass a background examination, including fingerprint search through state and national files.

Essential functions

If hired as a motor vehicle enforcement officer and with proper training, applicants shall be required to demonstrate the ability to perform the following essential functions.
  • Travel and stay out overnight approximately three to five times per month.
  • Meet or exceed minimum Iowa Law Enforcement standards with an issued firearm.
  • Successfully operate Windows-based computer programs.
  • Load, unload, carry and use 45-pound portable scales, which includes stooping, bending and twisting of the body on a frequent basis.
  • Effectively communicate with a diverse population in varying situations.
  • When warranted, use force, up to and including deadly force.
  • Perform multiple functions while attending to detail.
  • Work a rotating schedule, which includes days, nights and weekends.
  • Respond to short-notice schedule changes.
  • Climb in, on, under and around commercial vehicles.
  • Perform emergency functions (including, but not limited to, traffic control at floods, tornadoes, hazardous material incidents, traffic accidents, etc.) for extended periods of time in less than ideal conditions.


Pay scale under current contract (July 2010):
  • $1,479.20 to $2,212.80 (biweekly)
  • $38,459.20 to $57,332.80 (annual)


  • Paid vacation
  • Paid sick leave
  • $20,000 paid life insurance
  • Medical and dental insurance
  • Pretax conversion program
  • Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) with retirement available at 55 after 22 years of service.
  • Deferred compensation


If you believe you meet the minimum qualifications and with proper training can perform the essential functions of a motor vehicle enforcement officer with the Iowa DOT, you are encouraged to request an employment application packet during open application periods.


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