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April 11, 2014 2:00 PM, EDT
New Carrier Qualification Bill to be Introduced, TIA Says

TUCSON, Ariz — New legislation aimed at simplifying the carrier qualification process and reducing exposure in crash liability suits by creating a national hiring standard will be introduced in Congress later this month, according to Transportation Intermediaries Association President Robert Voltmann.

Speaking at the TIA meeting here, Voltmann said the bipartisan bill will be intended to simplify the process by stating that if a fleet is licensed, insured and does not have an unsatisfactory safety rating that it is properly qualified. That step is meant to insulate carriers and brokers from what he termed “liability roulette.”

Such situations are occurring now, he said, because plaintiffs’ attorneys can find courts where fleets and brokers have friendly judges and juries that capitalize on uncertainty about carrier qualification that has developed since the Compliance, Safety, Accountability was introduced several years ago.

In the current environment, he said, a broker in a state like California can face liability exposure in several states because CSA has created uncertainty about driver qualifications.

For example, he said, a broker in California that hires a carrier in Ohio to move a load from Texas to New Jersey can face liability in every jurisdiction because of uncertainty about the carrier qualification process.

Voltmann said he expected to receive support for the legislation from other trucking groups.