Senators Introduce Trucking Safety Bill

DOT Would Be Required to Establish a Safety Fitness Determination
U.S. Capitol
Mikhail Makarov/Getty Images

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Legislation meant to promote highway safety by setting federal standards that further determine a carrier’s competence was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Republican Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Mike Crapo of Idaho, sponsors of the Motor Carrier Safety Selection Standard Act, say their effort would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a so-called safety fitness determination.

This would seek to set new standards for ensuring trucking companies are licensed and registered, as well as insured.

Our legislation is a common-sense measure to improve highway safety and end the confusion over motor carrier selection standards. Implementing a single, simplified federal rule will also strengthen America’s supply chain and provide much-needed clarity for the transportation sector,” Fischer said July 25. She is a senior member of the Commerce Committee on freight policy.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg News) 

“The entire nation benefits when our interstates and highways are made safer. The Motor Carrier Safety Selection Standard Act directs the Department of Transportation to establish new safety standards for motor carriers, and sets interim requirements to help ensure shippers and manufacturers hire safe, reliable drivers that are properly licensed, registered and insured,” added Crapo.

The legislation already has been endorsed by various stakeholders. Third-party logistics providers currently lack a national standard for determining the safety of a truck carrier, per background the senators provided.

Sen. Mike Crap (R-Idaho)

Sen. Mike Crapo, R- Idaho. (Al Drago/Bloomberg News)

“TIA thanks Sen. Fischer for her continued support to address highway safety and confusion in the supply chain as it relates to motor carrier selection,” Transportation Intermediaries Association CEO Anne Reinke said in a statement accompanying the bill’s introduction. “Sen. Fischer is a leader on policy issues in the transportation and supply chain, and continues to be a champion on major issues that impact motor carriers, brokers, the motoring public and highway safety.”

Anne Reinke


Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a version of the bill.

“When manufacturers select trucking companies to ship their products, they are left without any standard to ensure those trucks are safe or fit to be on the road. The lack of a data-driven method to help manufacturers pick the best carriers has led to hundreds of thousands of accidents on roads and highways,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), a co-sponsor.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), also a co-sponsor, added, “Our bill orders the government to set new safety standards and, until those exist, creates a three-check system for motor carriers so that everyone who hires them knows whether they’re choosing safe drivers or companies with a reputation for cutting corners and causing accidents.”

Ben Campbell


The House measure also gained stakeholder backing.

“Without a clear federal standard, the result is a confusing patchwork of standards that threaten the nation’s economy and public safety,” Ben Campbell, C.H. Robinson’ Worldwide's chief legal officer, said in a statement provided by the House sponsors. “Additionally, some shippers and brokers have already begun excluding motor carriers from their networks based on their own assessment of who is ‘safe’ and who is not. This harms small carriers with five trucks or fewer who make up 90% of the market.”

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