IRP Handbook

Driver Education illustration

Section 13 of 15

Chapter 13: Other Motor Carrier / Vehicle Registration Programs

(CVC SECTIONS 5014.1, 5017, 4850 (C), 4452, 9254)

The PTI program is a registration program used for all trailers, except trailer coaches and park trailers. Upon payment of the original fee required to enter the PTI program, the department issues a standard PTI plate and an identification certificate for the trailer.  Once issued, the PTI license plate remains with the vehicle permanently.  A service fee is charged every 5 years to maintain the record.  A new PTI identification card is not issued unless there has been a change of registered owner name or address.

Trailers and semi-trailers under the PTI program may be issued special interest or environmental license plates at the option of the owner in lieu of a standard PTI plate. If the owner chooses to carry an alternative specialized plate, the additional fees required by the Vehicle Code for original application and renewal of the specialized plate are due in addition to the original PTI fee and the PTI service fee.  Specialized plate fees vary according to the type of plate desired.  Check with your local DMV field office or visit the DMV website at for the types of plates available and the fees associated with each plate.

A fee is charged to replace the standard PTI plate or identification card.  The fee to replace a specialized license plate that is issued to a PTI trailer varies according to the type of specialized plate.

A California “Certificate of Title” (ownership certificate) may be issued to a PTI trailer at the option of the registrant, but is not required.  Regardless of whether or not a PTI trailer is issued a California ownership certificate, the owner must notify the Department of the sale or transfer of a PTI trailer within ten (10) calendar days and complete an application for reissuance of the PTI identification card in the new owner’s name.

(CVC SECTIONS 34600-34672 AND RTC SECTIONS 7231-7236)

Any motor carrier operating a commercial vehicle on the public highways on an intrastate basis within California may be required to file for and obtain a Motor Carrier Permit.
A commercial motor vehicle, as it pertains to MCP, is defined as:

  • Any self-propelled vehicle listed in subdivisions (a), (b), (f), (g), and (k) of Section 34500 of the California Vehicle Code (CVC).
  • Any motor truck of two or more axles that is more than 10,000 pounds gross vehicles weight rating (GVWR).
  • Any other motor vehicle used to transport property for compensation (for-hire).

“Commercial motor vehicle” does not include:

  • Vehicles operated by household goods carriers as defined in Section 5109 of the Public Utilities Code (PUC).
  • Vehicles operated by a household goods carrier to transport used office, store, and institutional furniture and fixtures when operated under a permit issued by the PUC.
  • Pickup trucks with a GVW of less than 11,500 lbs., and unladen weight of less than 8,001 lbs., and are equipped with open box type bed not exceeding 9 ft. in length, when operated in a non-commercial use.
  • Two-axle daily rental trucks with gross vehicle weight rating less than 26,001 pounds when operated in a non-commercial use.
  • Motor trucks or two-axle truck tractors, with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,001 pounds when operated singly, or, when used to tow a camp trailer, trailer coach, fifth-wheel travel trailer, trailer designed to transport watercraft or utility trailer never operated in commercial use.

Visit the department’s website at for additional information regarding the Motor Carrier Permit Program.


California is a member of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). The State Board of Equalization registers and issues IFTA licenses. For purposes of the IFTA, interstate carriers operating qualified motor vehicles in two or more IFTA jurisdictions (does not include Mexico) must have either an IFTA license or a fuel trip permit issued by each jurisdiction where the carrier travels. Qualified motor vehicles include vehicles with a gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,000 pounds, vehicles in combination with a combined gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,000 pounds, and three axle vehicles regardless of gross vehicle weight, excluding recreational vehicles. A California carrier must have an IFTA license or a California Fuel Trip Permit to reenter California.  When the license is issued by the State Board of Equalization, the IFTA account number must be reported by IRP registrants to the DMV IRP Operations Unit.

For information and application forms contact the State Board of Equalization or visit their website at


The CPUC is responsible for administering regulations affecting motor carriers transporting passengers and household goods.  For specific requirements in obtaining certificates or permits, passenger and household goods carriers should contact the CPUC or visit their website at


Commercial vehicles that exceed the size or weight limitations of the California Vehicle Code must have an OS/OW permit.  The California Department of Transportation (DOT) issues OS/OW permits.  For information on size and weight limits and information about OS/OW permits visit their website at


The UCR Agreement is found in 49 United States Code (USC) Section 14504a.  The UCR Agreement is established by federal law in the UCR Act, which is part of the federal highway reauthorization bill known as the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act.  

The UCR Agreement is the intestate agreement, developed under the UCR Plan, governing the collection and distribution of registration information and fees generated under the UCR Agreement (“UCR fees”).  

Motor carriers, motor private carriers, freight forwarders, leasing companies and brokers based in the United States, Canada, Mexico, or any other country that operate in interstate or international commerce in the United States must register under the UCR program.  

Entities not required to register under the UCR program include:

  • USDOT registrants (usually owner-operators that do not have interstate authority) under the PRISM program;
  • Purely intrastate carriers, that is, those that do not transport interstate freight or cross state lines.

Under UCR Agreement, registrant pays UCR fees through Base State for all the participating states.  The UCR fees for 2010 and forward are based on the number of self-propelled commercial motor vehicles operated by the registrant as shown below:

Bracket# of self-propelled CMVs owned or operated by motor carrier, or motor private carrier of propertyFees per company for motor carrier, or motor private carrier of propertyFee per company for broker, freight forwarder or leasing company
B61,001 and more$73,346 

Brokers, leasing companies and freight forwarders pay a flat $76 fee.

Responsibility of the Base State

The base state is responsible to audit the registrants on behalf of all participating states to verify registrants are in compliance with the UCR Agreement and prevent potential fraud.  Audits may be conducted on-site of the registrant or may be conducted via documentation furnished to the base state.

Any prior year registration may be audited if records for those years are required to be maintained under Motor Carrier Recordkeeping section of UCR Agreement.  An audit expense is the responsibility of state performing the audit and is not reimbursable to the state.  In the event of a joint audit is conducted, the expenses of the audit shall be borne by each state performing the audit.

Appeal Rights

The registrant or state shall have thirty (30) days from the date it is notified of the findings of an audit or a reexamination to file a written appeal of the audit or reexamination with the audit subcommittee.  

The audit subcommittee will review the matter within ninety (90) days and respond to all parties involved.  Any decision from the audit subcommittee may be brought forward to the dispute resolution subcommittee after the audit subcommittee has made a final decision.