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How do I check my DOT Safety Rating?

If a representative of a motor carrier were to ask me “How do I check my DOT Safety Rating”, I would assume they were asking about a safety fitness determination. A motor carrier who has a compliance review should be assigned a safety rating of either Satisfactory, Conditional or Unsatisfactory based on the outcome of this event.

If a person asked How do I check my DOT Safety Rating: before I try to answer that question I want to be sure my audience knows what a DOT Safety Rating is and what it means.

First, there are only three possible Safety Ratings; Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory. The only way to have a safety rating assigned is to go through a Compliance Review.

A LOT of motor carriers do not have a safety rating. If you have been in business less than 15 or 20 years and you have NEVER had a full compliance review, OR if you have had a “Focused Intervention” more recently than you last compliance review, you may not have a safety rating.

I want to point out to everyone how easy it is to learn a safety rating, but I don’t want to embarrass anyone. So, I’ll pick some companies at random. You can get yours or another company’s safety rating by going first to the SAFER Website: https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/ then under “FMCSA Searches” pick “Company Snapshot”.

How do I check my DOT Safety Rating: I just picked a company at random; since the Boston Red Sox just won the world series, I checked to see if there was a trucking company named for them.

How do I check my DOT Safety Rating if I am the Boston Red Sox Baseball team?

According to SAFER, the Red Sox have no trucks, 40 drivers, and no miles. Their MCS 150 was updated in July 2016. They are a private motor carrier, with DOT Registration number 2911733. They have NEVER had a compliance review and have never been assigned a safety rating. In fact, it looks like they have not had a roadside inspection in the most-recent 24 months.

How do I check my DOT Safety Rating if I am Red Sox Trucking in Andrews TX? There is a company named “Red Sox Trucking” in Andrews, TX. They probably are owned by a Boston baseball fan. SAFER tells us Red Sox Trucking, in Andrews TX, with DOT Registration number 2149607, had 2 trucks, 2 drivers, and only operated one mile in 2012. Their MCS 150 was updated in October 2017. They have never had a roadside inspection or a compliance review.

How do I check my DOT Safety Rating If I am the safety manager for Santa Claus? Let’s see if Santa is going to make it to your house this year. “Santa Claus House” is a motor carrier, located in North Pole, AK. Santa Claus House, DOT Registration number 1675153, has also had no roadside inspections and has never had a compliance review.

How do I check my DOT Safety Rating? The fact is, MOST Motor Carriers DO NOT HAVE a safety rating. Recently I read something from the agency stating more than 600,000 DOT Registration numbers have been issued, but perhaps only 200,000 have had a vehicle inspection. If I had to guess, only 60,000 of those have ever been assigned a safety rating. Let’s try to find someone who has:

Another numerical scorekeeping system people MIGHT be concerned with that MIGHT cause someone to say: “How do I check my DOT Safety Rating?” is the SMS Scores. First, you have to have your PIN Number to do it, but It’s not hard. Since January 2011, the FMCSA has been using 7 separate algorithms to calculate the following: They want to develop a numerical score that shows how well you have done at creating a safety management system for each of these seven BASICs; UNSAFE driving, Driver Qualification, HOS (Hours of service), Maintenance, Drug & Alcohol testing, Hazmat and crash frequency. In each of these separate areas, the DOT says you need to have a system of safety management controls. The SMS score expresses how well you are doing in each of these are as.

How do I check my DOT Safety Rating? First, I’m going to answer a different question and that is “How often should I check my DOT Safety rating?” . . . the answer is, once a month. Now, we will address How do I check my DOT Safety Rating briefly: first, start with the SAFER snapshot as before.  From SAFER, look for the shortcut in the upper right-hand corner that says “SMS Results” . . . hit that button, this brings you to the FMCSA’s SMS website. Now, you must select the “Login” button in the upper-right corner.

Next, type in your DOT number and your PIN Number in the appropriate boxes. Now you will be able to access your seven BASIC Scores. There are two things you should know about these scores:

  • The DOT updates these scores once a month; on or about the 7th, 8th or 9th. So if you check it and the numbers have NOT changed, you might need to check it again the next day, until you get new numbers. And,
  • The general public cannot see your SMS scores. You have to have your PIN Number to see them. But once you get in the habit of reviewing your SMS Scores once a month, you will see why no one should go without at least a rudimentary understanding of how these scores are computed and why they are important to you.

 

Here is a company that has a safety rating:  How do I check my DOT Safety Rating if I am Brown Line? DOT registration number #11977 – (and yes, that’s a low number. This company has been in business since the fishhook was invented). MCS-150 updated September 2018; 66 trucks, 88 drivers, more than 200 roadside inspections; 7-plus million miles, 2 recordable crashes in 2 years, and a SATISFACTORY safety rating they received after a compliance review in May 2017.

This Satisfactory safety rating is what everyone wants. If you have two or three critical or acute violations, or even one, you could get a conditional or proposed Unsatisfactory.  In order to get a Satisfactory, you need to comply with the critical and acute rules and always be able to prove you are in compliance with those rules.

If such a low percent of motor carriers have NO SAFETY RATING, is it possible there is another important meaning of the question: “How do I check my DOT Safety Rating?” It’s possible, but mostly when people want to know about the safety rating they are almost always talking about the “Safety Fitness Determination” which is what we have addressed so far.

Who needs DOT Training:

If you are new to the transportation industry. If you have taken a new position at your company that requires you to understand DOT Compliance and Fleet Safety. If you are in a compliance support position with a need to know. If you just need a refresher. Supervisors of Drivers, Lead Drivers, Drivers, Shipping Managers, Traffic Managers, Fleet Managers, Logistics Managers, Compliance Manager, Transportation Managers, Safety Directors, Safety Managers, Safety Engineering Managers, Vice President/General Managers, Presidents/Owners , Administrators, Human Resource Managers, and anyone else involved in the support/operations of motor vehicles.

Still have DOT questions?

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Meet Your DOT Training Presenter:

Mike England has spent more than twenty-five years in the transportation industry, first in a management role with a small transportation company, then progressing through numerous safety and general management roles with both large and small DOT Compliance-regulated entities including trucking companies and private fleets. He is a graduate of the US Army Safety Management School in Ft. Rucker, Alabama as well as the US Department of Transportation’s FMCSA Safety Auditor Course. He spent 2005 and 2006 performing audits for the US Department of Transportation and decided in 2007 to form the private consulting firm DOT Compliance Help Inc. In addition to developing and presenting DOT Compliance Help’s, DOT Compliance Training seminars and conferences, Mike and his firm also provide DOT compliance assessments and conduct custom DOT Compliance onsite DOT training sessions for clients across the country. With an office and staff located outside of Chicago, DOT Compliance Help’s mission is to help carriers prevent accidents, injuries, and fatalities. For DOT Compliance, the ultimate goals are safer roadways for the public and increased profits for our clients. Mike England’s memberships include the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the North American Transportation Management Institute, and the Illinois Trucking Association.

In addition to developing and presenting DCH’s DOT compliance seminars and conferences, Mike and his firm also provide compliance assessments and conduct custom onsite training sessions for clients across the country. With an office and staff located outside of Chicago, DCH’s mission is to help carriers prevent accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The ultimate goals are safer roadways for the public and increased profits for their clients.

His memberships include the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the North American Transportation Management Institute, and the Illinois Trucking Association.