The commission's Motor Carrier Safety program conducts safety fitness evaluations to determine the overall safety fitness of regulated companies. While at a company's principal place of business, safety investigators review regulations with company management, documents related to accidents, driver and equipment files, as well as inspection of equipment at the carrier's terminal.
Companies may receive a safety compliance review for one of the following reasons:
- To obtain a current safety rating
- Safety complaints
- Routine compliance review
- High accident ratio
- High vehicle defect ratio
Previous "conditional" and/or "unsatisfactory" safety rating
Upon completion of a safety compliance review, the carrier will receive an intrastate safety rating. This rating will consist of one of the following:
Motor Carrier Safety uses the Safety Management Cycle (SMC), a system developed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to assist investigators in effectively addressing safety and compliance issues. The SMC is a process that looks at "why" the safety and compliance issues exist rather than only identifying the violation. The SMC focuses on six core Safety Management Processes.
- Policies and Procedures
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Qualification and Hiring
- Training and Communication
- Monitoring and Tracking
- Meaningful Action
The commission's Motor Carrier Safety program provides technical assistance to regulated companies. “Technical assistance,” a term defined by the state Legislature in RCW 43.05, includes:
Information on the laws, rules, and compliance methods and technologies applicable to the commission’s programs;
Information on methods to avoid compliance actions;
Assistance in applying for permits; and
Information on the mission, goals, and objectives of the commission’s programs.
Technical assistance is provided by terminal visits, telephone, online or in writing. The commission offers companies a publication titled "Achieving a Satisfactory Motor Carrier Safety Record" to all regulated companies. All forms in the guide are free to download.