One morning a few years ago I was going through all of my pending files and noticed this status. SUSPENDED instead of ACCEPTED.
A month prior we applied for a normal motor carrier authority, nothing special, nothing weird on the application.
In the past this has only taken 22-25 days for the FMCSA to activate this authority.
This day was different.
The status on this account was listed as SUSPENDED.
So I hopped on the FMCSA Chat line and asked why this authority was suspended.
Here's the conversation...
Sandra P: Thank you for holding ma'am. I see the application was selected to undergo vetting. This means it required further review by FMCSA. Normally vetting can take at least 8 weeks or more. However, I see that the application seems to have been accepted but it's still showing as being in vetting. I will need to escalate a ticket to our headquarters to get clarification as to if the application is still vetting.
Penni Royston: Ok, thank you. It should have been a normal application which usually takes 22 days for activation. Thought this one was strange that it is listed as suspended.
Sandra P: Yes ma'am, now all carriers are subject to be placed in vetting. Before it was only for household goods and passenger authorities. We will email you when we have more information.
Penni Royston: Thank you. Good to know. So the 22 days is out of the question now? How long does a normal application take now?
Sandra P: They still take the normal 20 to 25 days, unless FMCSA determines it needs to be vetted. A good idea would be to wait to get insurance filed until the carrier receives the acceptance letter by mail advising to get insurance filed.
Penni Royston: Ok. . How will we know if a carrier goes through vetting? The suspended status?
Sandra P: Yes ma'am.
Penni Royston: Is there a specific percentage of carriers that go through the vetting?
Penni Royston: Or is it just random?
Penni Royston: These guys want to work and 2 months is a lot of lost revenue.
Sandra P: Yes ma'am, it's just random.
New Applicants: BEFORE you file your insurance make sure this field reads ACCEPTED!
I knew HAZMAT, Household Goods and Passenger Carriers when through the vetting process which took longer but this was the first I have heard of a regular general commodity no-frills kind of carrier having to go through this.
How do you know if you'll be the "lucky" [insert sarcasm] one that gets the dreaded SUSPENDED status?
You don't. It's totally random.
I know this is frustrating! We are literally at the mercy of the federal government. They determine when you get to begin your operations no matter what stellar policies and procedures you put into place.
So as a word of precaution...don't be in a hurry when starting your business. Have a backup plan that generates a revenue stream.