A motor carrier’s DOT safety rating indicates whether a company has adequate and functioning safety management controls to meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) safety fitness standard based on the results of a compliance review (CR).
Safety Rating Levels
Safety rating are broken down into 3 basic levels and will be assigned to a carrier:
Satisfactory. Functioning and adequate safety management controls are in place to meet the safety fitness standard.
Conditional. Inadequate safety management controls are in place. You cannot ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard. You have deficient areas that FMCSA expects the carrier to resolve. However, you can continue to operate.
Unsatisfactory. Inadequate safety management controls are in place. You cannot ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard. Your safety program has too many deficiencies to allow your fleet to continue operating.
If your organization has never had a CR, your fleet will be unrated on the SAFER site.
Factors that Impact Ratings
The safety fitness standard is determined through the results of a CR. The areas of compliance for the standard are outlined in §385.5. They are based on previous audits and are updated monthly after reviewing accident data and violation status.
The key factors in ratings include:
- Hours of Service (HOS)
- Unsafe Driving
- Controlled Substances and Alcohol
- Driver Fitness
- Accident History
- Maintenance of Vehicles
- Hazardous Materials Compliance
Where Can I Find My DOT Safety Rating?
Your companies DOT safety rating is available to you — and the general public — at FMCSA’s SAFER website.
Since anyone can look at your safety record, a poor safety rating can affect your insurance rates and hurt your company’s reputation, hinder your driver recruiting efforts and result in a loss of customers.
To help avoid a less-than-favorable safety rating, you need to understand what the agency will examine during an audit.
How Can I Improve My Safety Rating?
If your company has received a conditional or unsatisfactory rating, you may request a rating change at any time. The FMCSA would expect to see a safety management plan to address the violations discovered during the CR. Based on the contents of the plan, the FMCSA may issue an improved safety rating.
Maintaining a solid DOT safety rating is critical to your reputation as a motor carrier and can save your company a lot of time and money!
VLC will be expanding our core features to include a safety tracking module to ensure good driver behavior and improve and encourage good CSA scores. Contact us to learn more.