Bypassing weigh stations using PrePass is a game-changer for qualified motor carriers of all sizes. After all, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) calculates that every successful bypass saves a motor carrier an average of five minutes in time, a half-gallon of fuel, and another $5 in operational costs. Those savings really add up quickly.

What’s more, university research shows that shippers prefer motor carriers who participate in a bypass program. Bypass programs only allow participation by demonstrably safe carriers – a feature shippers appreciate. And the time savings with each bypass means that the participating motor carrier will operate more reliably. Looking from the other direction, what fleet would not prefer customers who know and understand a good trucking operation?

But is this the right time to apply for bypass service? Now is a good time – because there is never a bad time to improve your fleet safety! Improved safety may qualify your fleet for PrePass, but, even more importantly, improved safety saves lives and money, avoids crashes, retains good truck drivers, and can bring more business.

The key to improving your safety is to review your fleet’s Inspection Selection System (ISS) score. It deeply affects whether a truck will be inspected by safety enforcement officers or not and whether you get a green light or a red light from your weigh station bypass service provider.

So how can you improve your ISS score? It is a simple four-step process:

  • Understand that FMCSA looks at safety events over the past 24 months. The more recent and severe the safety violation, the greater the impact on your score. That’s called “time and severity” weighting. Look first at recent and critical safety problems, such as crashes. Be sure to challenge any non-preventable crashes. The older, less severe violations will eventually “age out.”
  • Seek opportunities for “clean” inspections. Yes, implore your friendly inspector not to wave you through but to go over your truck and driver when all is in order. FMCSA will prioritize pulling in carriers who do not have enough inspections. The more “clean” inspections you have, the more past violations will be diluted in the ISS calculation.
  • Log into your personal motor carrier account on the FMCSA portal and make a note of any current “alerts” in your safety profile. An alert means your fleet is at or above the FMCSA “intervention threshold” for that safety category. These alerts tell FMCSA where to examine your fleet; they also tell you where to focus your immediate attention.

No alerts? Great! Turn your attention to the three safety categories where FMCSA places greater mathematical weight: “Unsafe Driving,” “Hours of Service Compliance,” and “Crash Indicator.” Improvements in those categories will give you a better ISS score.

Once you’ve done this and improved your Inspection Selection System score, or if you have discovered it is already good, you’re ready to get PrePass, the bypass home of safe carriers.

The PrePass blog and podcasts are published as a public service of PrePass®, the most reliable and technologically advanced weigh station bypass and integrated electronic trucking toll payment platform in North America. PrePass also includes INFORM™ Safety and INFORM™ Tolling software for improving truck safety scores and lowering toll costs.