The right Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data can mean the difference between forging a successful or problematic business partnership. But how and why? Consider that according to ACT Research, the ACT For-Hire Trucking Index: Fleet Capacity dipped by one point, suggesting that the market continues in a rebalancing phase. This stresses the importance of strategic vigilance over partnerships, especially with the need to stay updated on new or recently authorized for-hire carriers. In this blog, we will delve into understanding each of the six potential operating statuses for a trucking authority and their implications.
What Is the SAFER Operating Status?
The SAFER Operating Status is different from the types of operating authority that a motor carrier of household, hazardous material, or any other type of carrier may hold. Regardless, it informs brokers, shippers, and other stakeholders about the current operational status of a motor carrier under a specific USDOT number. Every company should always check operating status before engaging in any business relationship. It ensures they engage with entities that are legally compliant and fit for the job at hand. Or more simply, it’s the answer to, “can I hire this guy?”
The Out-of-Service status indicates that a motor carrier is temporarily prohibited from operating due to identified safety violations or regulatory compliance issues. This could be the result of failed inspections, safety audits, or other related concerns that need addressing.
Companies should exercise caution when considering an Out-of-Service carrier. Engaging with such a carrier can lead to legal repercussions and potential safety risks.
Inactive USDOT Number per 49 CFR 390.19 (b)(4)
The Inactive USDOT Number status arises when a carrier hasn’t updated their biennial MCS-150 by the due date. This results in deactivation of the USDOT number and a civil penalty.
Aside from literally not being able to legally operate until the MCS-150 form is filed, this can also infer a lack of attention to detail on the carrier’s part.
AUTHORIZED FOR (Passenger, Property, HHG)
The AUTHORIZED FOR (Passenger, Property, HHG) status signifies that a motor carrier holds an active MC Number and has met the licensing and insurance requirements to transport specific categories of goods or passengers in interstate commerce. In some instances, they might have multiple authorizations.
Encountering a carrier with this status is a positive indication. It means the carrier has undergone the required checks and is legally authorized for specific transportation tasks.
The NOT AUTHORIZED FMCSA Operating status refers to carriers whose Motor Carrier (MC) number, once active, is now inactive. Or they might have a new MC number that is still pending authority. They haven’t received or currently lack the necessary approvals to operate under interstate regulations.
While the carrier might be considered for intrastate moves, an operating status of NOT AUTHORIZED means they aren’t AUTHORIZED FOR interstate transport.
Engaging with a FMCSA operating status NOT AUTHORIZED carrier for interstate jobs can lead to regulatory issues and potential legal complications.
Alternate Carrier Data to Check Operating Status
Determining a motor carrier’s operational credibility goes beyond just their declared status. It’s essential to draw from a myriad of data points to make an informed decision, and it’s really a roll-up of other regulated carrier data from several state and federal agencies. Before engaging with a carrier, companies should ask these pivotal questions across both FMCSA SAFER and Licensing & Insurance (L&I) resources.
Is the USDOT Number Active on SAFER?
Ensuring a carrier’s USDOT number is active on SAFER provides an initial layer of verification about their operational legitimacy.
Why Is a Carrier Currently Showing an Out-of-Service Status on SAFER?
This sheds light on any recent violations or concerns that might have temporarily halted the carrier’s operations, helping companies gauge potential risks.
For Interstate Moves, Is the Common or Contract Authority Status Active at L&I?
An active status here is vital for any carrier involved in interstate transportation, confirming their legal authorization to operate between states.
Is the Bodily Injury Property Damage (BIPD) Insurance Registered at L&I?
This ensures the carrier has the required insurance coverage in place, offering an additional layer of protection and trustworthiness.
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