• Henry Seaton

Bill would protect shippers, brokers in carrier selection

Rep. John Duncan (R-Tennessee) introduced legislation (H.R. 1568) on March 16 that would protect shippers, brokers, freight forwarders and others from litigation over their selection of individual carriers provided that the entity verified no later than 35 days before the carrier’s use that the carrier is registered and authorized by FMCSA; has the minimum insurance coverage required by federal law; and does not have an unsatisfactory safety rating or has not otherwise been ordered by FMCSA to cease operations. The bill also would bar use of Safety Measurement System data or analysis of such data in a legal proceeding against a shipper or broker for negligent retention.

Duncan introduced similar legislation twice before, although the bill has been modified somewhat. For example, the prohibition on use of SMS was not included in Duncan’s earlier bills. H.R. 1568 closely resembles a bill (S. 1454) sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) in May 2015 except that it does not include the provision in Fischer’s bill that would have required a rulemaking to update and revise the standards for establishing safety fitness determinations (SFDs) and unsatisfactory safety ratings. As of the date Duncan introduced H.R. 1568, FMCSA had an active rulemaking to change SFD standards A week later, FMCSA withdrew the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

Avoid legal pitfalls

Rules of the Road offers practical help on avoiding legal pitfalls in working with customers, independent contractors, insurers, factoring companies, etc.

Many serious legal risks will go unnoticed unless you are watching for them. Don't take chances.

 Although successful food haulers already employ the common sense steps required in FDA's new transportation rule, declaring your compliance can help you stay competitive for spot-market freight.