How Seatbelt Violations Can Impact Your Moving Company

You already know that wearing a seatbelt can not only save your life, but the lives of others; and you already understand the costs associated with commercial motor vehicle crashes; but do you understand the big picture?

A major concern in the moving and storage industry for commercial businesses is how they stack up against the competition. The FMSCA uses the Safety Methodology System (SMS) to assess roadside performance of moving companies and ranks them as they perform against other companies. There are six different Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs):

  1. Unsafe Driving
  2. Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance
  3. Driver Fitness
  4. Controlled Substances/Alcohol
  5. Vehicle Maintenance
  6. Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance

And of course, there is the Crash Indicator- which uses history of patters and frequency to determine how likely a fleet is to be involved in an accident.

While we could talk about all of these categories (and we will… eventually), we want to focus on Unsafe Driving. The CSMS assesses the Unsafe Driving BASIC using violations of FMCSRs . These are typically recorded during roadside inspections (pullovers) or reported in the MCMIS.

  • Under the Code of Federal Regulations section. 392.16, “Failing to use seat belt while operating a CMV carries a violation Severity weight of 7.”
  • This violation impacts the carrier’s BASIC Unsafe Driving Score for a period of 24 months – with the severity of the points varying throughout that time frame.
  • The BASIC system acts as a behavioral reinforcement process – the more recent a violation, the higher the value of the points assessed to the driver and commercial business.

How can this impact my moving company in the long run?

The FMSCA uses these Safety & Fitness scores to assess and rank moving companies. For individuals and businesses searching for a reputable and safe company, they have access to By typing in the company name, their scores, percentiles and violation records are displayed.

A carrier’s measurement for each BASIC is based on:

  • The number of violations as they relate to that specific BASIC or crash
  • The severity of the violations or crashes
  • The timing of the violations or crashes – the more recent, the higher the weight

Once a measurement for each BASIC is determined, the carrier is placed in a group of carriers with similar inspection numbers. Percentiles from 0 to 100 are then determined by comparing the BASIC scores the carriers. A percentile 100 indicates the worst performance – this would imply that 100% of companies are better than yours.

As if that isn’t the worst part, consider this:

  • These scores must be good to get voluntary markets to quote your movers insurance
  • In fact: One national carrier rules are that if a fleet has more than 2 out of service inspections within 24 months they do not quote
  • What does this mean for you? Paying attention to safety regulations as they change and how they impact your company is imperative. Understanding your Safety and Fitness Scores will allow you to determine how your business stacks up – and where you need improvement.

    At Wolpert Insurance, we do our best to explain any changes as they happen and what it means for you. Our job goes beyond offering you comprehensive movers insurance – we want to help you run a successful business.