Legislation was introduced in the House yesterday to establish a national hiring standard for motor carriers.
The bill, H.R. 1120, was introduced by Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), who had introduced a similar bill in the last Congress. That legislation went nowhere.
The national hiring standard would clarify and standardize industry practices for hiring safe motor carriers, supporters said. It has been pushed hard by the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), a trade group representing the freight-brokerage industry. TIA argues that the current carrier-selection process, a patchwork of state and local standards, unfairly exposes brokers and shippers to potential liability in the event of an accident even though it is the obligation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a subagency of the Department of Transportation, to determine which carriers are safe, and unsafe, to drive on the nation's roads.
The legislation would deem a motor carrier to be safe to operate if it is properly licensed, has adequate insurance, and has a better than "unsatisfactory" rating from the FMCSA. Shippers and brokers would have 35 days to determine a carrier's fitness prior to selection; that time frame was chosen in part because FMCSA updates its ratings and information every 30 days, and truck users should select a carrier based on the most current information available.
The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.); Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.); Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.).