Vetting your Motor Carriers has never been more important than it is going into 2022. It’s the kind of due diligence that can prevent you from surprises and disappointments.
As we’ve said before, when it comes to appointing Motor Carriers, an important part of your due diligence is to ensure the carriers with whom you contract have the proper FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) authority, that your Motor Carriers carry the appropriate lines of insurance coverage and that your Motor Carriers have the necessary CSA safety ratings. Without question, this due diligence regarding your Motor Carriers should be one of the most basic and fundamental priorities for your Freight Brokerage business.
Your Motor Carrier should be appropriately licensed, authorized and insured to protect the loads in question. You can look up the Motor Carrier’s authority, and regulatory insurance requirements, on the FMCSA’s website. This will give you up to the minute information on the status of their authority. Also, it is essential to call the Motor Carrier’s insurance provider directly to verify the coverage that is listed on the Certificate of Insurance is accurate. Too many times, forged COIs can make it into circulation. The only reliable source to verify the COI is a phone call to the insurance carrier. The third and no less important step to be taken is reviewing a carrier’s safety record or CSA score (CSA stands for Compliance, Safety and Accountability). Safety data can be viewed on the FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (Safer) website at http:safer.fmcsa.dot.gov, which is updated once per month with data from roadside inspections—including crash reports and driver violations. Freight Brokers should be careful to use Motor Carrier companies with ratings of “Satisfactory” in order to reduce or eliminate negligent hiring of unfit Motor Carriers. Brokers should also continue to monitor the FMCSA “Safer” website for any changes to a rating for those Motor Carrier companies with whom they have an ongoing relationship.
It is encouraged that you seek advice from qualified transportation legal counsel when preparing your due diligence and related strategies. Taking these three steps in the vetting of your Motor Carriers will go a long way to avoiding the costs and times of an issue related to an unfit carrier.