I again attended the annual “Fly into DC” for TIA’s PAC last week (June 18th – 19th) to educate Congress about pieces of legislation that impact our trucking industry. TIA’s Legislative Staff did a great job of preparing our group of 50 or so logistics executives on the key talking points we would be addressing in our individual meetings with Congressman(woman) and Senators. The one main topic of discussion was advocating for the passage of House Bill 4727. This piece of legislation was introduced on May 22nd by Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-2nd/TN) and three cosponsors Rep Eric Paulsen (R-3rd/MN), Rep Rodney Davis (R-13th/IL), and Rep Sam Graves (R-6th/MO). The bill creates a National Standard for Hiring Motor Carriers as it requires that an entity (shipper, broker, forwarder, etc..) must ensure the following prior to hiring a motor carrier:
- Is properly registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA);
- Maintains the required minimum insurance; and
- Is not classified by FMCSA as “unsatisfactory”
This simple 2-page bill sets a minimum standard for hiring a motor carrier. HR 4727 advocates safety on America’s roads by requiring the shipping public to check and make sure the trucking company they are hiring has these three (3) minimum requirements. Since this information is already available on the FMCSA web site, it will be easy to verify a carrier selection. It does not set a standard for criminal wrongdoing or gross negligence. If any entity coerces a motor carrier into doing something illegal (such as driving over the legal speed limit, or forcing a driver to go over his hours of service limits), this bill will not prevent that entity from being held liable. This bill is endorced by trucking groups such as OOIDA, shipper groups such as NASSTRAC and NAM, as well as the US Chamber of Commerce.
Although a long shot to be passed on its own, we do hope that HR 4727 will be included into the next Highway Bill which is up for reauthorization September 30th. For a full copy of the bill go to www.tianet.org.