House Bill Would Provide Non-CSA Hiring Standard for Carriers

March 2, 2015

By David Cullen

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Legislation has been reintroduced in the House by Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) that would create a “national hiring standard” for motor carriers without referencing controversial BASIC data generated by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s CSA safety-compliance program.

Instead, H.R. 120 would mandate that before hiring a motor carrier, the shipper, receiver, forwarder or broker would have to ascertain that the carrier is properly registered with FMCSA, has obtained the minimum insurance, and has not been assigned an “unsatisfactory” safety rating.

The bill is a reintroduction of legislation brought before Congress last year and is co-sponsored by Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Erik Paulsen (R-MN).

If passed, H.R. 120 would provide an end run around what the Transportation Intermediaries Association has termed “the confusing and conflicting vagaries of the CSA BASIC data as it relates to the negligent selection of a carrier.”

In TIA’s view, passing the measure “would clarify and standardize industry best practices for hiring safe motor carriers” vs. the current situation in which companies are often asked to second-guess the FMCSA on determining which carriers are safe to operate and those that are not… H.R. 1120 would remove the confusing and conflicting vagaries of the CSA BASIC data as it relates to the negligent selection of a carrier.”

In addition, TIA stated that the “FMCSA safety rating should be, and is, the ultimate determination, if a carrier is safe to operate or not.”

“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,” remarked TIA president and CEO Robert Voltmann.

“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," he added. 


  1. 1. dan [ March 03, 2015 @ 03:55AM ]

    I believe that most brokers already do this vetting before tendering a load. Why another law? Maybe the Republicans want in on the demos game of regulating.

  2. 2. bill [ March 03, 2015 @ 04:33AM ]

    Maybe, if passed, it would keep many of the questionable Mexican trucks/truckers off American roads.

  3. 3. JL [ March 03, 2015 @ 05:15AM ]

    If I'm reading this right, it would mean that shippers, carriers, brokers, etc. could not be sued for negligence or liability in hiring a carrier as long as the carrier they used had a "satisfactory" rating with the FMCSA. They won't have to pick and sorr through CSA scores to decide if they can use them or not. It would put the responsibility for that back on the FMCSA.

  4. 4. ST [ March 03, 2015 @ 06:31AM ]

    JL, great comment. The idea behind the law is to set a national standard to vet a motor carrier, even if it is a pretty low bar. The law may or may not prevent a broker, shipper or forwarder from bieng sued. In many cases the abscence of a consitent standard is what gets most folks in trouble. Attorneys are very smart and they know how to find money where there doesn't appear to be any. Say this law passed and the broker can't provide documentation that they verified even the safety rating...would they be presumed negligent at that point? Tough ideas and they whole industry is the wild west these days when you start talking about broker /shipper liability. My guess is that this bill will most likely die quietly again...

  5. 5. Becky [ March 03, 2015 @ 06:34AM ]

    Many shippers won't even look at a carrier with a Conditional safety rating and/or any high CSA scores. Looks like this will take some of the pressure off of them in deciding to use those carriers who may not be "unsafe" at all, just a small company who may have only a few violations which result in poor scores.

  6. 6. Bonnie Sedberry [ March 03, 2015 @ 06:35AM ]

    I think it will be better for carriers. I know from monitoring our CSA scores monthly that sometimes the scores can go up even if you had all clean inspections on the road. Some shippers will call wanting to know what you are doing to cause your score to go up, when in reality we haven't done anything unsafe. With CSA, your score is based on how many inspections other carriers in your peer group had during the month. Also, I have noticed the cut off date for the score period is different each month. That difference can mean clean inspections were not counted, which would make your score go up. When a carrier is working on bids, the shipper will ask what the carrier's current score is. Well if it's a month where all inspections weren't counted, the score could be higher. A carrier with more violations than your company could look better because the last few inspections were not counted. If passed, this will help even out the playing field.


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