DOT Numbers for Local Truckers in California
Are you a local trucker, intrastate? Did you know you have a DOT number? Yes, it is true! Effective January of 2016 the Department of Transportation issued everyone who has a CA Number a new DOT Number. That means even if you have never applied for a DOT number and whether you know it or not, you now have a DOT number. If you would like to find out what your DOT Number is, you can search for it at the following link: DOT Lookup Link
The next question I am sure you are asking yourself is why is this important to me? I will go into more detail, but quite simply, it could significantly impact your insurance rates and the insurability of your company.
The biggest difference has to do with your inspection data. In the past when you were inspected by CHP, the results of the inspection were not accessible by anyone really. Now that you have been issued a DOT Number, all of the details of your inspections by CHP are now public record. That is right, whenever you get written up for brakes out of adjustment, taillights, or anything for that matter, it will all show up under your inspection data below your new DOT Number. Your inspection data is compared to other truckers around the state to determine how your inspection results compare to other truckers. If your inspection history is above the national average, you could be considered a higher risk insured and your insurance rates would go up accordingly. In some cases, if your inspection history was adverse enough, you could become uninsurable with standard markets. This can occur even if you have been in business for ten years and have not had any claims or accidents. I should note, it could go the other way as well. The insurance companies are using this data as a predictor for how likely you are to get into an accident in the future. If you have ever seen Minority Report with Tom Cruise, you can liken this to the Pre-Crime Unit. They are using this data to determine how likely you are to get into an accident in the future. The “Insurance Precogs” if you will, are using this data to select who should get the preferred rates and who should not.
This is not something that is merely coming in the future; this has already been implemented with many insurance companies already. Many of the DOT numbers here in California were issued last August, so they have been collecting inspection data and publishing that data to the DOT Safer website for over a year now. The DMV was supposed to send everyone a letter informing you of your new DOT number and what that meant for you, but to my knowledge this letter has still not been sent. These DOT inspection results have been in effect for several years for truckers with federal filings, but we wanted to make sure the local trucker knows about these changes as well.
Don’t find out about this information when your insurance rate is changed. Take a proactive approach by learning about your DOT rating and how to access this information online.