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Hiring Safe Motor Carriers

Legislation for Our Industry’s Best Practices.

Highway Bill NATCOWith a quarter of a century in business, our customers and business associates alike have come to trust our professional instincts. And while we’re quite proud of this, we also wonder: why trust instinct when instinct should not be necessary?

Case in point: During last month’s visit to Washington, DC, for the Capital Hill Fly In, sponsored by the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), we discussed major issues affecting 3PL logistics providers, our clients, and our carriers.

A proposed national Highway Bill—H.R. 1120 in the House—would streamline the process of assuring that a motor carrier:

  1. is properly registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA);
  2. has obtained its minimum insurance; and
  3. does not have an “unsatisfactory” safety rating.

In our view, the bill would improve safety by establishing a straightforward national standard for hiring motor carriers.

NATCO and HighwaysCurrently, we have four tiers to determine safety and fitness: Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, Conditional, and Unrated. Again in our view, this approach leaves too many choices and too much unnecessary reliance on instinct and “guessing.”

Reducing that to two tiers—Safe and Unsafe—would honor the vast majority of 3PL and carrier commitments to providing quality service to our customer base, along with enhanced reputation throughout the industry.

Adding to the complexity of the issue: as of December 2015, a highway bill was enacted which included the 3PL industry’s inability to review why a carrier was deemed the way it was. This was a step backward—an oversight, we believe—in terms of motor carrier safety and in uniformity of standards. It left us in the lurch, relying on guesswork in selecting carriers to facilitate our customers’ freight.

We support having the FMCSA determine and qualify carriers as Safe and Unsafe to help us further select the best—and safest—ways to manage movements of freight.