Why Carriers and Drivers Need Help When Challenging Violations With The DataQ Process

Why Carriers and Drivers Need Help When Challenging Violations With The DataQ Process

In 2019, FMCSA data shows that nearly half of the 54,000 DataQs were filed for inspections/crashes assigned to the wrong carrier or driver (for example, duplicate records in the system).

While it is often said “knowledge is power”, really it is “understanding of the knowledge” that is real power.

Too many motor carriers do not have the time or resources to make sense of their CSA data and is the reason why fleets end up not knowing that non-preventable crashes are harming their CSA scores.

If you notice incorrect information in your PSP report or the CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS), the DataQ process is there to help companies and drivers fight and remove these records that could be keeping your scores or insurance rates high.

Read more: Understand Three Important Trucking Tools For Hiring and Roadside Inspections

FMCSA says thousands of incorrect information-type DataQs are corrected each year. Just imagine how many incorrect data is left unchecked and hurting your CSA scores right now.  

Why You Need Help With The DataQ System And Process

Violation challenges are the number one reason owner-operators utilize the DataQ system, but they are the least-successful category of challenge where only 39% were successfully changed, according to the FMCSA.

The problem with the DataQ process is that navigating the system can be challenging and dealing with state departments’ decisions that are often complex or end up as a single judgment call by the original inspecting officer can be frustrating.

Oftentimes, getting the DOT officer to admit they were wrong is half the battle, but it may take multiple appeals by the carrier to get an in-depth review.

Navigating the system itself can be one challenge, but the most common hurdle is gathering enough evidence to make a convincing case.

Before starting a DataQ process, challengers should make sure they have the officer’s report number for the record being challenged, a police accident report, and any other required or relevant evidence for the case.

Even with clear evidence, fixing errors in the system can be difficult and time consuming when a filing gets rejected.

That whole time, which can take months, the violation is in the CSA score system and damaging your CSA score, insurance rates, and ability to do business.

For crash-related information, only 43% of driver challenges were overturned while carrier service providers, like CNS, have nearly a 60% success rate.

While larger fleets may be able to afford hiring a compliance expert to manage the DataQ process, using a third party to organize a DataQ challenge, review your CSA scores, pull PSP reports, or manage compliance reviews will help you make sure your records are fair and accurate.

What can CNS do for me in the DataQ system?

Actively managing your safety measurement system (SMS) scores and PSP reports is crucial to the success of Motor Carriers.

As compliance experts, CNS staff are basically doing law enforcement’s job to prove they made a mistake.

We have built great rapport with the FMCSA challenging DataQ’s and have the experience and expertise to determine what can and cannot be challenged.

Our DOT Compliance Specialists are well-versed in the FMCSA rules and regulations, as well as what an officer is required to note on their report.

When filing a challenge, CNS can help you use language that shows intent to be thoughtful, clear, and concise in describing what the error is believed to be.

Whether you would like our DOT Specialists to challenge one DataQ or conduct a monthly analysis of all roadside violations to potentially challenge, we have a cost-effective solution for your company.

We can:

  • Request copies of an Inspection Report
  • Contest incorrect, multiple-listed, or missing IEP/shipper information
  • Contest citations with associated violation
  • Contest violations assigned to wrong motor carrier or driver
  • Identify issues, such as crash duplicates, missing records, or crash reports containing incorrect information
  • Establish a crash preventability program

Call one of our DOT Compliance Specialists at 888.260.9448 to discuss your options or you can request more information in the form below.


Amazon Cracks Down on Carriers with Bad Safety Records

While the economy is currently strong, the trucking industry is always an excellent barometer of the state of the economy as well as where it could be headed in the near future.  Companies that contract out loads to local shippers – for example companies like Amazon – are becoming more stringent with the local shippers procuring loads.  Regional dispatchers and brokers are usually hesitant to work with carriers that have poor SMS scores and conditional safety ratings.

The last few months more companies such as Amazon, are no longer working with carriers that have conditional or unsatisfactory ratings – period.  Carriers may have had a safety or compliance review from the 1990’s and since that time, run a very compliant and safe operation.   What we at Compliance Navigation Specialists are seeing is companies like Amazon no longer working with carriers with a conditional rating – no matter the company SMS scores or job performance.  What had been an issue that was left up to brokers to use a carrier at their discretion has now become company policy that only non-rated and satisfactory carriers can secure loads.

The conditional ratings that have been hiding on SAFER or where simply overlooked in the past, now must be dealt with and removed.  CNS can address these issues with a Corrective Action Plan and Safety Rating Upgrade request that will be submitted to the FMCSA.  CNS also helps explain the process to Brokers and Dispatchers demanding documentation from Carriers.  Carriers often lose time and money when trying to remedy these situations themselves, writing their own Corrective Action Plans which tend to be inadequate.  Once submitted to an FMCSA regional office and respective state for upgrade, months could pass before a review is processed.  If the review is denied, carriers have more work and time to spend on resubmitting.  This is where hiring a professional firm to handle the safety rating upgrade from the start will save you time and inevitably, money.


Learn more on how we can help with your safety rating upgrade. 

Don’t have a bad safety rating but are worried you may not pass an audit? Learn more how CNS can help you prepare for an audit.