If you have been in a wreck with a tractor-trailer, you know the damage they can cause. Because these trucks are bigger, heavier, longer, and harder to stop, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made trucking companies adhere to higher safety standards when it comes to driving these big rigs. Many, if not most, trucking companies take shortcuts when it comes to safety. In an attempt to find out which trucking companies are the most dangerous, the FMCSA designed The Safety and Finess Electronic Records (SAFER) System. Its goal was to provide the public and trucking industry service providers with safety information on individual trucking companies.
You have access to this information. Let me show you how to do it:
- Go to safer.fmcsa.dot.gov
- Under the heading FMCSA searches, click on the section “Company Snapshot”
- After clicking on this heading you can find the motor carrier based upon the company’s name, US DOT Number or MC/MX Number.
- Next, you will find the “Company Snapshot”
Here is one I have pulled on Western Express, for example.
In the upper right-hand corner of the Company Snapshot screen, you can click on “Licensing and Insurance” to obtain insurance information, including the amount of coverage they have on file. As a general rule, regulated trucking companies are required to have a minimum of $750,000 per person of liability insurance coverage.
For my subscribing lawyers who are reading this, please note that by clicking on “Blanket Company” in the bottom left-hand corner under Licensing and Insurance,” you can obtain the agents for service of process. If you return to the Company Snapshot page and click on “SMS Results” in the top right corner, you will access additional information from the Safety Management System (SMS concerning the safety scores of the trucking company).
What About the Driver?
In 2010, the FMCSA implemented the CSA, or Compliance, Safety & Accountability System. Its purpose was to collect data from individual truck drivers and their companies to assess the overall safety of each trucking company. SMS focuses on 7 Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC). These categories include
- Unsafe Driving;
- Fatigued Driving;
- Driver Fitness – measures drivers who are unfit due to lack of training, experience or medical qualifications;
- Controlled Substances/ Alcohol – history of impaired drivers;
- Vehicle Maintenance;
- Cargo-Related – measures improper loading/ shifting incidents and violations;
- Crash Indicator – history of high crash involvement based upon the amount of prior incidents and how severe they were.
This data is collected over a 24 month period and is available for you to see for yourself. Unfortunately, the public is not allowed to see data on individual drivers, and only has limited access to the trucking company information. The SMS system identifies the violators of FMCSR’s with poor safety performance. High scores are bad for the carrier, bad for the public, and usually, warrant some Federal intervention.
You can view the entire SMS Profile by clicking on the link within the page titled “Complete SMS Profile” on the left side of the screen.
If you have been involved in a crash and have questions about whether the company that hit you has a good safety record or not, call me and I will be glad to look up this information for you. A company with a poor safety record can have some forms of their poor attitudes towards safety used against them to help you establish a pattern of indifference that ultimately led to your wreck.
If you need a Nashville or Franklin Personal Injury accident attorney with a history of proven results for his clients, with an attorney who is not afraid to enter the court room and hold unsafe trucking companies accountable, call John Griffith and his team of lawyers at GriffithLaw. Protecting Your Family IS what we do.