Getting a Conditional Rating Upgraded

Following an FMCSA audit, the FMCSA issues a safety rating. They have 3 ratings: Satisfactory, Conditional, and Unsatisfactory. Actually, the really only have 2 ratings, Satisfactory and Conditional. If you are given an Unsatisfactory rating, you’re so screwed up, they only give you 60 days to fix what’s wrong, or they put you out of business. Well, I’m paraphrasing, but that’s more or less correct.

You can operate indefinitely with a Conditional rating. However, if you’re a for-hire motor carrier, a Conditional rating will generally hurt your business. Some shippers won’t load a Conditional carrier. For example, I had heard that CH Robinson had a problem with Conditional carriers. Insurance companies can use a Conditional rating as an excuse to raise rates.

The traditional method of getting FMCSA to up your rating to Satisfactory is getting them to re-audit you, and pass the audit. Then you get the Satisfactory rating, your Safestat scores drop, and everything is A-OK. FMCSA, however, is changing their procedures on that, though. FMCSA has so many audits which need to be done, they are unable to get to the carriers who need their ratings upgraded. FMCSA has a petition procedure, where a carrier can send written documentation into FMCSA, showing how they’ve mended their ways and come into compliance with the rules. If the documentation is thorough and compelling (their word), then they upgrade the rating.

fdt-red-october

The trick is, these petitions have to be complete, voluminous, and just the way FMCSA wants them. If they are going to give you the upgraded rating, without an audit, then they have to be sure you’ve earned it. If you end up in a wreck, and kill a family of six, the FMCSA guys don’t want to be on the nightly news because they gave you a rating you didn’t earn. In other words they need to CYA. Actually when talking about FMCSA personnel, CYA is one of their prime motivating factors. Remember that line from The Hunt for the Red October when Fred Thompson tells Alec Baldwin, “Russians don’t take a dump, son, without a plan”. Well, you could change that to “FMCSA doesn’t take a dump, son, without CYA”, and it would still be true.

At any rate, if you have a Conditional rating, want to get it upgraded, you could spend a week trying to figure it out yourself, or you could save yourself some aggravation and time: call me.

16 thoughts on “Getting a Conditional Rating Upgraded

  • July 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm
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    WOULD LIKE TO INQUIRE ABOUT WIORKING TO GET A RATING UPGRADE FROM COND’L BACK TO SATISFACTORY

  • July 23, 2012 at 9:07 am
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    Need to get back to a Satisfactory rating from Conditional.
    Thank you for your time.

  • July 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm
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    Give me a call at (610) 582-4356, and I can walk you through the upgrade process.

  • August 4, 2013 at 2:41 am
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    Mr. Arnold,

    I would like to inquire on how to get back to a satisfactory rating from conditional.

    Your assistance would be more then welcome on how I can achieve and move forward with this process.

  • August 4, 2013 at 2:41 am
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    Mr. Arnold,

    I would like to inquire on how to get back to a satisfactory rating from conditional.

    Your assistance would be more then welcome on how I can achieve and move forward with this process.

  • April 3, 2014 at 8:19 pm
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    Mr arnold please advise of the process to get upgraded to satisfactory

  • April 4, 2014 at 9:02 pm
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    i Would like to discuss needing help to reverse our two year old conditioal rating. Thanks

  • April 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm
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    Steve: My apologies for not getting to your comment sooner. I have been extremely busy, and this new version of the website isn’t emailing me when comments are posted. At any rate, either email me some details about your situation at eric@arnoldsafety.com, or call me at (610) 582-4356.

  • April 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm
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    Left a message for Andrea on Friday….

  • November 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm
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    I need help to get a unsatisfactory recordable accident rate to satisfactory conditional rate
    if you can give me some pointer please help

    thank you please sent me an e-mail

    Tina

  • January 24, 2015 at 12:56 pm
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    Eric , What can i do to go from NO RATING to satisfactory…it actually shows as No Rating

    We are car hauling and have not had any problems
    with any companies not using our services BUT we just got a bigger trailer and want to get on a dedicated run and they require a SATISFACTORY rating
    only in business 13 months have had audit and failed but got resolved within 60 days.

    Thank you for any and all info or help
    Scott George

  • January 28, 2015 at 5:53 pm
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    They are probably not going to move you from ‘no rating’ to ‘satisfactory’ without a complete, full audit. You can request that from DOT, but they fill very likely ignore you. They don’t do audits at a carrier’s request anymore, as they say they do not have enough time. I would try to convince your shipper that ‘no rating’ is essentially the equivalent of a ‘satisfactory’ rating, which essentially it is.

  • February 22, 2016 at 2:20 pm
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    Our rating is “conditional” and we need help in order to upgrade to “satisfactory”. We submitted a letter in requesting an upgrade but we were denied due to not enough information submitted.

  • February 23, 2016 at 9:09 am
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    We spoke on the phone yesterday….

  • October 10, 2016 at 3:10 pm
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    MR. ARNOLD iWAS GIVEN a CONDITIONAL RATING IN 2004 AND HAVE NOT HAD ANY PROBLEMS UNTIL NOW. EVERY ONE WANTS YOU TO HAVE a SATISFACTORY. COULD YOU PLEASE hELP. AND IF SO WHAT WOULD IT COST ? THANK YOU LESTER GRAY MC # 139139

  • October 10, 2016 at 3:11 pm
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    THANKS

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