The motor carrier safety rating is an evaluation given to an interstate commercial motor carrier (a company which employs truck or bus drivers) by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
A safety rating is determined by a compliance review, an on-site examination of motor carrier operations, such as drivers’ hours of service, maintenance and inspection, driver qualification, commercial drivers’ license requirements, financial responsibility, accidents, hazardous materials, and other safety and transportation records to determine whether a motor carrier meets the safety fitness standard. A compliance review may be conducted in response to a request to change a safety rating, to investigate potential violations of safety regulations by motor carriers, or to investigate complaints, or other evidence of safety violations. The compliance review may result in the initiation of an enforcement action.
One of three safety ratings will be issued following a compliance review:
Satisfactory – A Satisfactory rating means that a motor carrier has in place and functioning adequate safety management controls to meet the safety fitness standard prescribed in §385.5 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). Safety management controls are adequate if they are appropriate for the size and type of operation of the particular motor carrier.
Conditional – This rating means a motor carrier does not have adequate safety management controls in place to ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard found in §385.5 of the FMCSR.
Unsatisfactory – An Unsatisfactory rating means a motor carrier does not have adequate safety management controls in place to ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard which has resulted in occurrences listed in §385.5 (a) through (k)of the FMCSR.
Generally, a motor carrier rated unsatisfactory is prohibited from operating a CMV. If a proposed unsatisfactory safety rating becomes final, the FMCSA will issue an order placing its interstate operations out of service. Any motor carrier that operates CMVs in violation of this section will be subject to the penalty provisions listed in 49 U.S.C. 521(b).