Posted by: jmwilsonmga | May 14, 2013

Updating Motor Carrier Information, featuring Guest Blogger Tommy Ruke

As many of you know, a motor carrier with a Department of  Transportation (DOT) number is required to update the information that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has about them.  One of the most common questions we hear from our agents is,

“How does my insured update his motor carrier information on the Safer web page?”

One of the leading experts in the trucking industry, Tommy Ruke, has shared a really great blog that provides a step-by-step process for updating the insured’s motor carrier information with SAFER (Safety and Fitness Electronic Records).

“Updating Motor Carrier Information (MCS-150 Form)” by Tommy Ruke

A motor carrier with a DOT number must update information the FMCSA has about them.  This is achieved by updating the MCS-150 information.  This can be done online, but it does require the motor carrier to have a PIN number.  A number of small motor carriers, primarily private carriers, don’t have a PIN number, or know the information needs to be updated every two years.  If you need to know how to help your motor carrier obtain a PIN number, email a request for the steps to

The key to the update is the last two digits of the motor carrier’s DOT number.  The second number from the end is the year, even or odd.  The last number is the month, with number one being January through number zero being October.  No one is required to update in November or December.

Example:  Services to Distributors, Inc., DOT # 2290494, has to be updated April of every odd year.

That is the requirement.  How do you know if the motor carrier has updated timely.  On the SAFER web page it reflects the “MCS-150 Form Date”.  That shows the date the information was sent to the CSA.  In addition when looking at “SMS Results”, which leads to A & I Online Safety Measurement System, you’ll see carrier registration information with a date that the information has been updated.  An orange flag in that box reflects that the information has not been updated.  The two areas that must be updated are the number of power units and the annual miles.  A motor carrier who does not update as required is “flagged”.  What does that mean?  Depending on other factors, the motor carrier is now on the DOT “watch” list, which could lead to a visit by the DOT, depending on the size and past records.  I don’t think any motor carrier wants to be flagged by the DOT.  It’s simple to remove the flag.  Just update the MCS-150.

Can a motor carrier update more often?  Yes!  Should a motor carrier update more often?  Yes!


Two of the BASICs of CSA, crashes and unsafe driving, have a “normalization factor”, which uses the average number of power units for the past 18 months as reflected on the MCS-150, times a “utilization factor”, which is a function of the number of miles as reflected on the MCS-150.  So the MCS-150 information is a function of the motor carrier’s peer group.

When a motor carrier obtains insurance, the underwriter matches up the information on the application with the information in SAFER, which reflects the information sent by the motor carrier in the MCS-150 update.

My suggestion is that 60 days before renewal the MCS-150 needs to be updated, so the information matches the request for insurance.

Lastly, it is relatively new that states are looking at the number of power units reflected in SAFER when issuing apportioned tags (IRP), as reflected in the article authored by Don Jerrell.”

Additionally, Tommy, along with other insurance professionals, has formed the Motor Carrier Insurance Education Foundation (MCIEF) and Transportation Risk SpecialistTransportation Risk Specialist will offer live training events (basic and advanced motor carrier insurance seminars), an annual conference, and much more – including the industry’s first and only motor carrier-specific insurance designation.

If you would like to be added to Tommy’s blog mailing list, please send an email to  Thank you to Tommy for allowing us to share his great article!

Sandi--Updated-Dec-2010Introduction by : Sandi Fritz, Vice President, Branch Offices

Sandi Fritz joined J.M. Wilson in 1981 and currently serves as the Vice President, Branch Offices.  She manages the transportation team in Michigan and in the branch offices, as well as works with our companies to foster relationships, communication, training, and goals.  She also manages each of our branch offices helping them to meet their goals, communicate, and train.  Sandi loves everything about insurance.  She can’t imagine doing anything else, anywhere else.  She loves helping people write business and meet goals.  Sandi feels very privileged to have met and known some of the greatest people in the insurance industry.  In her free time, Sandi enjoys being involved with her church, running, biking, skiing, and spending time on the beach.

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2013 J.M. Wilson Corporation

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