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Trucking Score System Could Get You Pulled Over For an Inspection

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Trucking Score System Could Get You Pulled Over For an Inspection


With so much talk about CSA scores, many truckers may not be aware that there is another score system that is used to rate the likelihood of a truck to be selected for an inspection. This score system is known as the ISS score (Inspection Selection System).

ISS generates a single measurement that can be used to determine whether or not a truck going through a scale should bypass or be inspected. The ISS score ranges from 1 to 100 and, similar to CSA scores, a higher score is not good.


What makes up the ISS score?

The score itself is a combination of various safety data, including CSA score percentages. The score seems to combine SMS with out-of-service rates, crash data, and previous audit information. Generally, unsafe driving, hours of service, driver fitness, controlled substances and alcohol, vehicle maintenance, and hazardous material help determine the ISS score.

ISS ratings are split into three categories. These categories are “inspect, optional, or pass”. The actual ISS score can be seen through your FMCSA Portal or if you log into SMS with a PIN.


Recommendation ISS Inspection Value
Inspect (inspection warranted) 75-100
Optional (may be worth a look) 50-74
Pass (no inspection required) 1-49

DOT Compliance Regulations Quiz

How is the score used to pull trucks in for an inspection?

Basically, when a truck is pulling through a scale, the first thing that comes up on most of the inspectors terminals is the ISS score of the company.

If the score is good, they are going to wave the truck through because they know he/she is “behaving” themselves and they want to focus on bad carriers. If the score is bad, they may have the truck go through an inspection instead of waiving them through.

The use of this ISS score varies state to state, it is just a guidance from the FMCSA. For instance Oregon does not usually care about this number. Oregon prefers to inspect trucks with visible defects rather than refer to the ISS score. Other states use the score as it is supposed to make life easier for scale masters.

On occasion, if the SMS system does not have enough data on a carrier to give basic scores (because they are a good carrier and they always get waived through scales) we have seen the system spike the company ISS score just to generate some inspection data. Once they get 3-5 inspections, the ISS returns to normal.


Why have this score if some states don’t use it?

The most relevant thing about ISS is that it is essentially what determines if you are able to use a transponder. Truckers find transponders very useful (Greenlight, Norpass, Prepass, etc) so they don’t have to pull into a scale, but a truck with a transponder will only get bypassed if the ISS score warrants an inspection.

Carriers will be bypassing along for years and then all the sudden they start getting red lights instead of green lights and it seems like it is always because their safety/ISS scores have gotten too bad to recommend a “pass”.


SMS Overview Example Report

The actual ISS score can be seen through your FMCSA Portal or if you log into SMS with a PIN. The SMS overview report may look like this:

 iss score report SMS system


If ISS uses data from CSA scores, what will happen if CSA score change their rating system?

As mentioned previously, ISS score uses the percentages from CSA scores. Right now CSA scores are not in public view and are considered by some as “bad data”. It is likely that CSA score may be removed permanently or reworked due to the SFD rule challenge in the court system.

Many find the ISS score system to be fairly accurate right now.  If the CSA system changes, ISS will change too. This may cause the likelihood of trucks inspections to increase. Only time will tell, if CSA scores are changed, how it will affect inspections.

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