Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

The Consequences Of A Bad Safety Compliance Review Can Be Devastating To A Motor Carrier

Compliance Vs Violation Street Road Sign Direction Advice FollowAsk any Safety Manager.  The stress of the job is intense.  How’s my driver?  Where is my equipment?  And what about the cargo?  But there are few things that are more stressful to a seasoned Safety Manager than receiving a notice that your company will undergo a Compliance Review (CR).  Ouch!

Safety Managers worth their salt will realize that when the inspectors arrive at their doorstep, they will be looking at all aspects of the operation, hours of service, maintenance, driver qualifications / licensing, insurance, accidents, HM and administrative compliance, to name a few. 

A great Safety Manager will also recognize the consequences of having a bad CR.  Depending on the inspectors’ findings, the FMCSA can impose civil penalties (fines) for violations that it discovers.  In 2013, FMCSA fines ranged from $1 up $3,876,000.  HERE you can look at the tens of millions of dollars in civil penalties that have been assessed over the years.

On top of that, based on a bad CR, the FMCSA can downgrade the motor carrier’s safety rating from Satisfactory.  A downgrade in a motor carrier’s safety rating from Satisfactory to Conditional can not only cost business, but it will surely result in an increase in insurance premiums.  Worst of all, if the FMCSA reduces the safety rating to Unsatisfactory, the motor carrier will soon be out of business, that is unless there is a prompt response.  See 49 CFR 385.11 for more information.

Preparing beforehand and responding quickly afterward can be the best way to either avoid or mitigate the consequences of CR.  Having a plan to face a CR and executing on it can be one of the best things that an excellent Safety Manager can do.

If you have questions about an FMCSA Compliance Review, don’t hesitate to call Mike Mills at Bauman Loewe Witt & Maxwell.  He will gladly speak to you about what you might expect, how to get prepared or what options you have if things hit the fan.  Mike can be reached at 702-240-6060 x114 or you can email him at