The Importance of Safety Scores

Did you know that every company has a licence, and that the licence has a point system? Most things that drivers do on the road are recorded and can add points to the company’s licence.

Unfortunately, the points added are a bad thing. If your company receives enough points, it can cause any power unit driving for them to be inspected more often while on the road. So, too many points will always get a power unit more attention while driving on the highways.

When an enforcement officer pulls you over, and decides to inspect you at the scale, they usually have access to your history, the truck, the trailer, and the history of the company. They know what your last violation was, what the last inspection revealed about your power unit and trailer, and they also know the entire history of the trucking company. They know just about everything and they tend to investigate power units licenced to trucking companies who have lots of points and issues.

So, this article is about safety scores and how important they are to both you and your company. Especially when you are looking for a new driving position.

When I was a recruiter, not once was I ever asked about my company’s CVOR score or DOT rating. Not once. And yet, today it is vital to an applicant. You all know that tickets are expensive. Many tickets are more than a day’s pay. So why would you want to work for a trucking company that has a poor rating and that may get you inspected more frequently? It doesn’t make sense to me. And carriers, why would you want to hire a driver with a poor record? Drivers, you should know that points acquired from a previous driving job do not get transferred when you go to a new driving job with a new company. When you are driving for one company and you get a violation, or convicted for a ticket, the points stay with that trucking company for two years (24 months). This is the reason companies get upset with a driver when they get a violation. And I do mean a violation. Any “X” on your Commercial Vehicle Inspection Report (CVIR) will put points onto the company’s CVOR or DOT profile. Yes, almost all violations carry points. If the company gets too many points, it may cause increased inspections at the scales, a facility audit, and other attention getting actions by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), or DOT. The MTO calls “attention getting” actions “Interventions.” The company’s insurance company is also closely looking at the safety scores as they reflect on the company’s hiring practices, the trucking company’s culture and so much more.

As a driver working for a company, you also need to be concerned about the actions of the other drivers within your fleet. Their actions can cause you to receive more unwanted attentions by enforcement officers.

What can drivers do regarding Safety Scores? First, ask your company to keep you informed. At least quarterly you want to know if in Ontario, the CVOR score is going over 35%. You see, this is the first intervention level. In the States, you want to know if any of the seven scores are in the Alert Status. One score in the alert, will get you unwanted attention by enforcement; two alerts and you are going to get looked at very closely. So, don’t drive for a company with 2 alerts in the USA (called the SMS). In Ontario, I would not drive for a company with a score above 50%.

Well, what if you really like the work that the company is doing or, for the first time in a long time you feel appreciated? Can you work for a company that has scores greater than 50% or with 2 alerts? I think yes. If you are satisfied that the company is serious about lowering the scores, then absolutely stay and help the company recover. And remember that while the scores are high, the chances of you being inspected at a scale just increased many folds. So, you should perform great, awesome vehicle inspections. Don’t take any shortcuts. Do great inspections and you should be alright.

Remember, you need to care about the company’s safety scores as much or more than they do. Not caring will cost you much more than it will ever cost the company.

Stay Safe!

Chris Harris
Top Dawg, Safety Dawg Inc.
@safety_dawg (twitter)

About Chris Harris, Safety Dawg

Chris has been involved in trucking most of his adult life. He drove truck for and worked in various office/management positions for a major truck company. His last position of 5 years in the safety department where he was responsible for the recruiting of Owner Operators and their compliance. He joined a trucking insurance company in 2001 and has been in the insurance side of things until making Safety Dawg a full-time endeavour.