What is a DOT Safety Rating?
A safety rating is a publicly accessible and up-to-date record of a driver or trucking company’s safe driving and conduct. It is evaluated by the FMCSA, operating under the DOT.
Trucking companies and drivers will receive one of three potential safety ratings: Satisfactory, Conditional or Unsatisfactory.
- Satisfactory - Satisfactory is the best possible outcome when it comes to safety ratings. It means that your company or driver is in good shape and that you have adequately followed safety protocols.
- Conditional - When your trucking company has failed to follow some safety protocols, you may receive a Conditional safety rating. While you’ll still be permitted to operate with this rating, customers, creditors and insurers may see it as a warning sign. If you receive this rating, you’ll want to take immediate action to get it upgraded to Satisfactory.
- Unsatisfactory - An Unsatisfactory safety rating means that a driver or trucking company has failed to implement proper and compliant safety protocols. If you receive this rating, you will have 45 to 60 days to make the necessary safety improvements in order to continue operating.
NOTE: Not documenting procedures can lower your safety rating. The first step toward upgrading your rating will be to address the issues presented by the FMCSA and formally request a new rating. See this page for details on how to request a safety rating review.
How Can I Learn My Current Rating?
To learn your safety rating, visit https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/CompanySnapshot.aspx and follow the prompts on the screen. This is an official database run by the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS), administered by the FMCSA.
How to Keep Your Safety Rating Up
Even with a Satisfactory rating, it’s important to maintain your safety protocols and procedures to avoid slipping into a lower safety rating category.
Here are some steps to take and factors to consider to maintain your Satisfactory rating:
- Maintain accurate and up-to-date records (driver logs, accidents, financials, maintenance, inspections, etc.)
- Maintain equipment and self-inspect regularly
- Continue to comply with FMCSA and DOT guidance
If you don’t already have one, a simple training program can be a great way to increase driver and employee compliance with your trucking company’s efforts to keep up a good safety rating. Invest time and resources now to avoid complications or losses in the future.