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Brokers Push Congress for More Safety Ratings Data
Foley
6 mins read
 

Safety is paramount to trucking. As a DOT-regulated motor carrier, you know full well that it is one of your top concerns (and the ultimate secret to success for your business).

However, even stricter safety standards may soon be coming down the pike following a new bill introduced to Congress.

It all comes down to a simple fact: Brokers want to see more data about carriers’ safety and compliance.

What does this mean for you? Maintaining high safety ratings and Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores has never been more important—nor has the need to adopt a fully-automated solution.

What Brokers Are Looking For—And Why

A bill was recently introduced to Congress that would establish a national motor carrier safety selection standard for entities—such as brokers and other third-party logistics companies—that contract with carriers.

Per the act, the Department of Transportation would be required to create a Safety Fitness Determination test for trucking companies. It would also require that manufacturers and shippers ensure that trucking companies they work with (or consider working with) are licensed, registered, and insured.

The bill is championed by the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), which represents brokers and third-party logistics companies, and it was recently referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

But why the new legislative push? As DOT-regulated carriers are aware, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducts regular audits of motor carriers and designates them safety ratings through its CSA scoring system. These scores—Satisfactory, Conditional, Unsatisfactory—are derived from data from roadside inspections, including driver and vehicle violations; crash reports from the prior two years; and investigation results.

However, according to the TIA, 85% of carriers are not currently rated in this system.

Enforcement Season is Here - are You Ready?

The Importance of the Carrier-Broker Relationship

Carriers and brokers are both paramount to moving products from point A to point B (or C or D). While carriers handle the freight, brokers provide value when it comes to service, technology, logistics, partnerships, and deeper industry insight.

So as a motor carrier, it is important that you maintain strong, reliable relationships with brokers to ensure that your business thrives.

This means not only vetting brokers and other third-party entities that you work with, but doing your part to prove you are safe and compliant by maintaining good CSA scores. This will go a long way toward protecting yourself should new legislation take effect.

As we have previously discussed here, the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) considers the number of safety violations and inspections a carrier has had, the severity of its safety violations and crashes, when crashes occurred (recent events being weighted more heavily), a carrier’s number of trucks and miles traveled, and any acute or critical violations discovered during investigations.

The agency then organizes this data into seven Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs):

  • Unsafe Driving (Speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, inattention, or failure to use seatbelts.)
  • Crash Indicator (History of crash involvement.)
  • Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance.
  • Vehicle maintenance (Failure to make required repairs.)
  • Controlled substances/alcohol (Use or possession.)
  • Hazardous materials compliance (Leaking containers, improper packaging and/or placarding.)
  • Driver fitness (Invalid license, medically unfit to operate a CMV.)

Finally, the SMS groups carriers by BASIC and assigns carriers percentiles from 0 to 100. This percentile prioritizes carriers for intervention—with higher percentiles indicating worse performance.

As a DOT-regulated carrier, you want to maintain strong CSA scores. This can help you get (and keep) more business, haul more freight, maintain a compliant fleet, and build a strong reputation with current and potential partners and customers.

How a Fully Automated Solution Can Help

We can’t stress it enough: Safety is one of your most important responsibilities as a motor carrier. And brokers want you to prove it.

Having a fully automated solution in place can not only help keep you compliant, but make your business run more smoothly, so you can focus on hauling freight and building partnerships—rather than handling a desk full of paperwork.

DOT Fines are on the Rise. Is Your Recordkeeping in Order?

With Foley’s comprehensive compliance solution, you can manage all your programs online in one easy-to-use platform. Our secure, customizable dashboards and reports provide insight into your compliance and safety metrics, and we provide end-to-end support when it comes to the DOT Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, background checks, and driver qualification files. Our MVR Monitoring program also keeps you apprised, in real-time, of your drivers and their performance.

Contact Foley today to learn more about how we can keep you safe and compliant—and maintain strong broker relationships.

 
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