Updated: Aug 10
One thing that surprises many founders of small carriers is the intensive in-office tasks associated with running a trucking operation. While there are many critical things to pay attention to in this role, one of the most important is your safety score. Failing to do so can quickly bring down your small carrier business.
What is a Safety Score?
Your safety score is a federally mandated metric that is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency within the Department of Transportation. The goals of this metric are to ensure that safety standards are followed and to identify high-risk carriers.
A safety score ranges from 0 to 100, with lower values being seen as safer carriers. Your safety score is calculated by a number of factors, including violations discovered during inspections and crash reports provided to the FMCSA. Violations add between 1 and 10 points based on their severity.
Safety Score Risk Factors for Small Carriers
There are many risk factors for rising safety scores. These risk factors are often more problematic for small carriers who may lack the time or expertise to have reliable safety processes in place. Below are some of the most critical factors that could result in a concerning safety score.
Missing or expired driver, vehicle, or carrier records
Poor onboarding process (i.e., missing documents, incomplete background verification)
Vehicle inspection non-compliance
Missing violation & accident records
Missing or incomplete drug tests
Lack of disciplinary policy & actions undertaken when at-fault violations and so on
Obviously, there are many things that can negatively impact your safety score. While some things - such as actions taken by drivers - are more difficult to control, others are not. Most risk factors can be handled with automation and organization through carrier software.
How Do You Reduce a Safety Score?
Many carriers who run into problems with high safety scores want to determine the easiest way to reduce their safety score. Unfortunately, the best way to have a low safety score is to be proactive!
Carriers often find it challenging to reduce a safety score as violations stay on their record for two years. The reality is that there are no simple hacks to reduce your safety score quickly. Instead, focusing on the following things consistently can help:
Consistent, thorough vehicle inspections
Efficient hiring and onboarding processes
Utilization of carrier software for tracking documents
Prevent a Safety Score from Bringing Down Your Small Carrier
A poor safety score can spell doom for your operation. It can hurt your relationship with brokers, reducing the loads you get. It can also harm your relationship with employees as it can reduce their workload while raising their insurance rates.
Instead of leaving your safety score to chance, ZTrucking, safety-integrated carrier management software, is the leading way to stay proactive. Our carrier software identifies, validates, and stores required documents for drivers, vehicles, and the carrier. It also notifies you when it is time to renew documents through daily FMCSA audits. Get peace of mind for your trucking business with the best FMCSA technology on the market.