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Which Way Are You Going to Go Here? Part II of II
Should a freight broker ignore safety scores and rely only upon the FMCSA to identify approved carriers for highway use? Can a freight broker still be found negligent in carrier selection AFTER having completed a thorough check (initial and continuing)?
There is so much focus on BASIC scores because the FMCSA does not have the personnel to conduct necessary inspections to provide timely “safety ratings” on each motor carrier. So, safety ratings issued by the FMCSA “slide” and are not practical given the circumstances.
On the other hand, is it realistic to penalize brokers that may have time-sensitive freight to move and are under-the-gun to get a truck dispatched before someone else comes along and takes it? Are they really putting “safety” on the back burner as their quest to find trucks overwhelms them?
If a broker has five carriers, as an example, that want a broker’s single load and each carrier has three, five, seven or more alerts in their scores – which carrier does the broker select? Which carrier is the WORST or which one is the BEST in this group?
Does the broker devise his own selection criteria to ferret out the best? Does using “reasonable care” mean preparing a program that takes into consideration not only the number of violations but their severity as well? Or does he just refuse all of them?
Should brokers be condemned for creating selection criteria for making a profit? – that’s an important and perhaps the most critical reason for being in business.
To be sure, in carrier selection, there is a difference between the “legal” requirements for carrier selection and the “operational” requirements. Does “favoring” one over the other mean eliminating a concern for the other?
My understanding is that the courts have said that brokers should use “reasonable care” in carrier selection. That means plaintiffs bar will seek a determination to find that the broker did NOT use reasonable care.
Yet, “reasonable care” has not been defined by the courts and, therefore, there is a wide latitude for prosecution.
A freight broker needs to understand where he or she stands legally in the event of a negligent claim filed against him or her. Brokers need to know what constitutes “negative carrier selection” and what they need to do to avoid it.
Can you think of other questions?
I’m slowly working a a more detailed report on this. It will be ready in about 50 years – maybe 40 if I really push it. I’m swamped – where oh where does the time go? I haven’t even mentioned – in addition to avoiding negligent carrier selection – the proposed national carrier hiring standard, vicarious liability and what impact California’s recent AB5 regulation (independent contractors vs employees) may have upon all of this.
In my comprehensive training, we discuss these issues and more. I’m not an attorney and can’t give legal advice but I’ll give you stuff to consider. It’s all educational. You want to come away confident, try and keep your nose clean, just get out there and mingle with shippers and carriers and become part of the MOST AWESOME industry in the world and MAKE SOME MONEY!
If you’ve already done this, go here (it’s free but I really should charge something for this info)