Legislation introduced to clarify broker/shipper carrier-selection requirements

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Congressman John Duncan (R-Tenn.) along with Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) introduced H.R. 4727 Thursday, May 22, to create a “national hiring standard” for motor carriers, according to the Transportation Intermediaries Association. The bill would require that before contracting the services of carrier a shipper, broker, freight-forwarder or receiver ensure that the carrier is: 
**Registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA);
**Has obtained the minimum insurance; and
**Has not been given an “unsatisfactory” safety rating in the Safestat safety rating system. 

As long as those entities do that, text in the legislation prohibits states from imposing liability “on an entity that hires a motor carrier for the transportation of property or household goods if such liability arises from a claim or cause of action related to the negligent selection of such motor carrier … for personal injury, death, or damage caused to cargo or other property by such motor carrier.”

TIA believes the “hiring standard would clarify and standardize industry best practices for hiring safe motor carriers.” Tucker Company Worldwide General Counsel recently highlighted the reality in today’s world — with the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Safety Measurement System and Safestat safety rating system running in parallel and often offering seeming contradictory assessments of carriers.

golden triangle“H.R. 4727 would remove the confusing and conflicting vagaries of the CSA BASIC data as it relates to the negligent selection of a carrier,” ran a recent TIA press release. “TIA will continue to advocate that the CSA initiative is a valuable internal tool for the Agency, but until the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rulemaking is complete, the BASIC data should not be used as a tool for carrier selection.”

The legislation stops short, however, of requiring removal of SMS BASIC scores from public view, a move a sizable majority of Overdrive readers recently indicated they supported: 

“The current state of affairs of CSA and the ever-increasing threat of negligent selection lawsuits based on the BASIC data are hurting the transportation industry,” said TIA President and CEO Robert Voltmann. “In the marketplace today, every time a shipper, broker, forwarder, or receiver hires a carrier, they are essentially playing Russian roulette for their businesses’ livelihood. This national hiring standard reinforces the safety rating and licensing process already established by FMCSA, helps small business across America, and improves the overall safety of the transportation industry.”