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Bill seeks to create a ‘Safety Fitness Determination Test’ for trucking companies

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Bipartisan lawmakers have re-introduced legislation that they say would increase highway safety by creating new federal standards for rating the safety of a trucking company.

The “Motor Carrier Safety Selection Standard Act” was introduced by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), according to a February 10 news release from Gallagher’s office.

If passed, the bill would “require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to enact a Safety Fitness Determination test for trucking companies, as well as require manufacturers and shippers to ensure trucking companies are licensed, registered, and insured.”

The bill would also require shippers to verify “not later than the date of shipment and not earlier than 45 days before the date of shipment” that the carrier is registered as a motor carrier, meets minimum state and federal insurance requirements, and “is not determined unfit to operate safety commercial motor vehicles … or other- wise ordered to discontinue operations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (including not renewing a Department of Transportation registration number) or a State, for intrastate commerce.”

According to the release, there are currently over 3,000,000 shippers and 20,000 third-party logistics providers (3PLs) choosing trucking companies that do not have consistent safety requirements in place to protect drivers and prevent accidents.

In May 2021, Gallagher and Moulton introduced nearly identical legislation that ultimately failed to advance in the House.

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. Gallagher. “This bill directs the Department of Transportation to establish a safety rating process for trucking companies, and sets an interim standard to ensure manufacturers work with reliable trucking companies that are fully authorized, licensed, and insured.”

“Every single day, hundreds of thousands of Americans unwittingly put their lives in the hands of motor carriers like major trucking companies simply by driving up an on-ramp and onto the highway. That’s because right now there is no way for businesses shipping goods to verify the safety of the companies they pick to ship them,” Rep. Seth Moulton said. “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.”

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