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FMCSA Sends Warning Letters to More Carriers
4 mins read
Are unsafe drivers are a problem in your company? If so, you might be receiving an unexpected letter from the FMCSA.


The agency recently sent out warning letters to carriers who were at risk of an onsite or offsite audit based on their Unsafe Driving BASIC. The carriers that were targeted had a percentile ranking of 50 percent in this BASIC category.

New Webinar: The Rise of Surprise Safety Events

If you’ve been hovering around the 50th percentile for awhile, you may be wondering why you’re just getting a letter now. The reason is this: while the thresholds the FMCSA uses to prioritize a carrier for intervention or further monitoring aren’t changing, they have decided to give carriers that are at risk for prioritization advanced warning so they can make the changes needed to reverse course.

Put simply: the FMCSA is giving carriers an opportunity to fix their Unsafe Driving BASIC before it becomes a bigger problem. In the past, carriers would only receive these letters once the damage was already done. This made the warning letters more of a notice of events to come – that an unannounced compliance review or offsite audit may be in their future. 

The intervention thresholds (which haven’t changed) are as follows:

  • 50 percent for passenger carriers
  • 60 percent for Hazmat carriers
  • 65% for all other property-carrying passengers

Do You Know Where You Stand?

At Foley, we recommend that motor carriers check in on their safety and performance data to see where they stand – and to ensure they don’t have any growing problems in any of the BASIC categories. Companies can check their status online using the Safety Measurement System (SMS). In addition to viewing each of their seven BASIC statuses, they can see a summary of violations, inspection history and a summary of their investigation results.

You can check your data here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/YourRole/MotorCarriers

Addressing an Unsafe Driver Problem

If you received a warning letter from the FMCSA because you’re approaching (or have exceeded) the intervention threshold, you’ll want to take action immediately. Keep in mind that this BASIC is a direct reflection of your drivers and their actions on the roadways: whether they obey traffic laws, wear their seatbelts and abide by posted speed limits, for example. In other words, these are entirely preventable incidents that can be avoided by making the right hiring and retention decisions in your company.

In addition to thorough background checks of all new drivers you hire, you can help promote a culture of safety by enrolling all drivers in an MVR Monitoring program. An MVR Monitoring program such as the one we have at Foley will keep tabs on each driver’s motor vehicle report and alert you when new information is detected – information such as a speeding ticket or accident, for example. This information allows you to watch for unsafe driving trends and address issues before they become serious problems – and put you at risk of exceeding an intervention threshold.

34% of driver violations can be prevented with Foley's MVR Monitoring

The FMCSA is on a mission to increase roadway safety and take unfit carriers off the road in 2022, so we can expect to see a greater emphasis on safety in the coming months (an overhaul of the Safety Ratings system is on the docket for later this spring). Make sure you’re prepared by creating a culture of safety and compliance in your company.

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