An unsatisfactory rating can harm your ability to run your business and serve your customers. Understanding how and why unsatisfactory ratings are determined can help you avoid this situation and ensure your business is not interrupted. Poor ratings and repeated low ratings can even lead to a loss of your operating authority and potential compliance and sanction issues. Because of this, refreshing your knowledge ensures your business is able to operate effectively and you don’t risk losing customers because you are unable to meet their needs.
Motor carrier ratings and your business
Every motor carrier in the United States is assigned a rating based on its ability to comply with regulations and to operate safely on the nation’s roadways. A negative or unsatisfactory rating has a direct impact on your ability to do business and can lead to significant problems and interruptions over time. The ratings are made using information from the Safety Measurement System (SMS) which tracks reports, acute and critical violations, and inspection data.
Ratings are determined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and are required for all operating carriers. If you receive an unsatisfactory rating, you should view this as an emergency this rating means the FMCSA is close to considering you unfit to operate safely – and restricting your ability to drive at all. Carriers can also receive a conditional rating, which should be seen as an urgent warning that attention to safety and compliance must be improved swiftly. A conditional rating will lead to an unsatisfactory one if conditions are not improved.
What is an unsatisfactory rating?
The FMCSA has many protocols in place designed to reward carriers that operate safely and to restrict those that do not. A series of safety violations, unsatisfactory record-keeping, and driver violations can all contribute to a poor or unsatisfactory rating. According to the FMCSA, violations like accidents and tickets are the most serious infractions; the more recent an incident is, the more of an impact it will have on your overall rating in the system. Ratings are also weighted – the severity of a violation may vary based on the size of the brand, the number of fleet vehicles in operation, and the actual issue that has been reported. Acute and critical violations, problems found during inspections, and other safety issues are all used to get an accurate picture of your performance and safety record; if these are lacking, your rating will be jeopardized.
Avoid business disruption by focusing on safety and compliance
Paying attention to safety requirements does more than just ensure you get a passing rating and keep you on the road, it helps you avoid costly accidents and business interruption as well. Taking the time to review your rating and to improve any areas you are struggling with will ensure you get the ratings you need to keep your business healthy.
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