Congressman Duncan Reintroduces Legislative Language that Creates a National Hiring Standard for Motor Carriers

On Thursday, Feb. 26, Congressman John Duncan (R-2nd/TN) along with Congressman Rodney Davis (R-13th/IL), Congressman Richard Hanna (R-22nd/NY), Congressman Mark Meadows (R-11th/NC), and Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-3rd/MN), introduced H.R. 1120, a bill that would enhance interstate commerce by creating a national hiring standard for motor carriers.

H.R. 1120 is the reintroduction of the legislative language that was introduced in the 113th Congress last year. The Bill would require that before hiring a motor carrier, a shipper, broker, forwarder, and/or receiver ensure that the motor carrier is:

  • Properly registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA);
  • Has obtained the minimum insurance; and
  • Has not been given an “unsatisfactory” safety rating.

The national hiring standard would clarify and standardize industry best practices for hiring safe motor carriers. Currently, industry stakeholders are often asked to second-guess the FMCSA on determining which carriers are safe to operate and those that are not. Congress tasked the FMCSA with evaluating motor carrier safety and empowering them with the sole authority to revoke the interstate operating authority of unsafe motor carriers or otherwise place unsafe motor carriers out-of-service and off the road.

Additionally, H.R. 1120 would remove the confusing and conflicting vagaries of the CSA BASIC data as it relates to the negligent selection of a carrier. TIA will continue to advocate that the CSA initiative is a valuable internal tool for the Agency, but until the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rulemaking is complete, the BASIC data should not be used as a tool for carrier selection. The FMCSA safety rating should be, and is, the ultimate determination, if a carrier is safe to operate or not.

“TIA applauds Congressmen Duncan, Davis, Hanna, Meadows, and Paulsen for their leadership in introducing this important piece of legislation. The current state of affairs of CSA and the ever-increasing threat of negligent selection lawsuits based on the BASIC data are hurting the transportation industry. In the marketplace today, every time a shipper, broker, forwarder, or receiver hires a carrier, they are essentially playing Russian roulette for their businesses’ livelihood. This national hiring standard reinforces the safety rating and licensing process already established by FMCSA, helps small business across America, and improves the overall safety of the transportation industry,” stated TIA President and CEO Robert Voltmann.