Login
logo

What Is a DOT Safety Rating?

Maintaining a solid DOT safety rating is critical to your reputation as a motor carrier. Learn more about what the FMCSA evaluates during an audit.
author

Kathy Close - DOT Editor - J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

April 10 , 2020

A motor carrier's DOT safety rating indicates whether it 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).

What Compliance Areas Impact the FMCSA’s Safety Fitness Standard?

The safety fitness standard is determined through the results of a CR. The areas of compliance for the standard are outlined in §385.5.

During an audit, you must produce the following records:

Enforcement will also look at your safety management controls. Safety management controls are the systems and processes you have in place to ensure your safety program is working effectively. An auditor would expect to see records associated with training, policies, and procedures, along with mechanisms to monitor and track compliance. The FMCSA would also expect to see documented corrective actions when these mechanisms reveal a breakdown in your safety efforts.

In addition, the safety rating process uses your:

  • Accident rate, defined as recordable accidents (§390.5 definition) per million miles during the past 12 months. The agent will calculate the rate and compare it against a predetermined threshold for a pass or fail.
  • Vehicle out-of-service (OOS) rate, taken from vehicle inspections over the past 12 months. Your OOS rate must be less than 34 percent to pass.

What Does My Safety Rating Mean?

The results of your CR will lead to one of three possible safety ratings:

  • 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.

How Do I Find My DOT Safety Rating?

Your 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 may 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 you receive 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.

Request your free compliance review with a J. J. Keller compliance specialist today. They’ll review your safety program, help you identify any compliance gaps, and provide guidance on how you can improve.

Maintaining a solid DOT safety rating is critical to your reputation as a motor carrier. Learn more about what the FMCSA evaluates during an audit.


blog


Yard Jockey Training Tips


blog


Improving Your Business with GPS Vehicle Tracking


blog


FMCSA's Crash Preventability Determination Program Relaunched

FMCSA Crash Preventablity Determination Program Relaunched