As many of your know, CSA (Compliance, Safety & Accountability) scores were taken down from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) website shortly after President Obama signed the FAST Act into law in December 4th. Congress instructed the agency to oversee an extensive review of the scores and prepare for Congress an overhaul strategy for the CSA program. NASSTRAC, along with many other industry associations voiced opposition to CSA’s scores claiming they misrepresented most carriers’ safety records. Motor carriers, however, can still view their scores.
So, where does that leave shippers and brokers who are required to provide “due diligence” in vetting motor carriers and avoid negligent hiring lawsuits?
NASSTRAC agrees with TIA’s (and the Federal government’s) position that a motor carrier’s DOT safety rating is the sole determination of whether or not a motor carrier is safe to operate or not. There is no clear evidence that exists to support the view that a motor carrier’s BASICs scores will or could indicate, whether a particular carrier is more or less likely than any other carrier to be involved in a crash.
NASSTRAC, along with other industry associations, further supported TIA led legislation calling for a National Motor Carrier Hiring Standard. This bill called for the establishment of a national hiring standard for motor carriers rather than allowing a patchwork of state court decisions to determine the hiring standard for motor carriers. State courts are all taking a different approach to interpreting FMCSA, causing confusion in the marketplace and wasting valuable state resources. Our interstate transportation system…part of the global supply chain…needs a national hiring standard. The proposed national standard did not set a standard for gross negligence or criminal wrong-doing, it only called for the establishment a national standard for carrier selection. Unfortunately, this much needed legislation was pulled from the recent FAST Act at the eleventh hour.
Until the corrective actions are taken and implemented as mandated by Congress in the FAST Act, all CSA data related to alerts and the “relative” percentage rankings are removed from the public view and cannot be allowed to be used in determining a motor carrier’s safety fitness. I would urge all shippers to ensure that the carriers they do business with all have valid operating authority, a current certificate of insurance at amounts adequate to cover your needs, and a DOT Safety Rating that is “Satisfactory”, or “Not Rated”. Confirm that brokers have valid authority and their surety bond is at the required $75,000.
Until the dust settles, make sure you are protecting your company ensuring you do business with credible, safe transportation providers.