Are You a Candidate
for a Safety Audit?
But FHWA's statistical analysis is not perfect. The agency doesn't compare accidents to the number of highway miles operated or to any other objective standard that would allow a fair or accurate comparison among carriers. Instead, FHWA uses data gleaned from information you provide on Form mcs-150, a two-page questionnaire that all carriers are required to fill out "within 90 days after beginning operations."
form asks new carriers to indicate the commodities they may transport.
Carrier mileage for the last calendar year is requested but not used.
The form also asks how many trucks by category you own, lease or trip-lease.
FHWA uses this initial number of trucks as a baseline for determining
your accident ratio. Let's say you started your company five years ago
with one truck, completed the mcs-150 form and never changed it. If
you have two accidents in 1999, your accident ratio will be two to one
even though you may now operate 100 trucks that travel 1.2 million miles
a year. The agency has no method to update the mcs-150, so you must.
Accurate and current information will not remedy the statistical flaws resulting from the agency's reliance on truck numbers rather than miles run. But at least you can ensure that your company is not selected for audit because of inaccurate information that you could easily correct.
So get on the Internet and check your safety information. Based on what you find, take remedial action and submit updated information on Form mcs-150 as required. Either that or start preparing for an unwelcome audit.