Lately, there has been a call from the public to ensure National hiring standards for trucking carriers. After all, shippers want to know that their carrier will provide the safe delivery of their freight shipments.
Recently, Republicans in the House of Representatives introduced a bill that would seek to create an assurance of safety among carriers. Essentially, this bill would put the accountability in the hands of the trucking brokers. The bill requires freight forwarders to ensure that the trucking carriers that they hire are registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), that those carriers are properly insured to be on the road and that those carriers have good safety ratings (and exclude those carriers with poor safety ratings).
On the surface, this bill is a step in the right direction. Safety is important, especially in the realm of shipping freight by truck. However, this new bill does not solve any of the long-term safety problems that plague many carriers. In fact, the Transportation Intermediates Association supports this current bill. Their hope is to remove the current safety scoring system from the Department of Transportation’s Compliance, Safety and Accountability program. Namely, many carriers are upset that their safety scores are public information, and they criticize that the current scores are unfair. The goal of this new bill would be to eliminate that current scoring system, so the scores won’t be public, and let the freight brokers determine who is safe.
Again, while this bill adds more accountability to the system, it also eliminates some accountability. The worry is if this bill becomes law, would safety concerns decrease or increase?