Shippers are worried about carriers’ Compliance, Safety, Accountability program scores, according to a new study from consulting firm Transport Capital Partners.
More than 72% of trucking companies report some of their customers are concerned about carrier scores on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s program, TCP said in its second-quarter Business Expectations survey. The study found 21% of motor carriers reported no shipper concerns, but 6% said every customer was worried about the program’s effects.
Some shippers consider low scores in a category so serious they may stop doing business with a carrier, TCP Partner Richard Mikes told Transport Topics, “especially if they’re dealing with a broker in the spot market.”
Mikes said shippers are cognizant of a court ruling of vicarious liability in the case of Sperl, et al. v C.H. Robinson, and many are using CSA scores in hopes of avoiding similar lawsuits.
Shippers specifically cited problems that are raised because of the CSA program’s current approach to crash accountability that automatically penalizes a trucker who is involved in an accident even if the carrier isn’t at fault. American Trucking Associations has been campaigning for a new agency approach to that issue.
“If a trucking company is rear-ended, does that mean that carrier is unsafe because of that rear-end collision?” Mikes said.
CSA scores continue to be a major concern for carriers, especially over the past few months as FMCSA has responded inadequately to their worries, TCP Partner Lana Batts said in a statement.
Last quarter, TCP found that 65% of carriers surveyed are using three or more methods to comply with the regulations compared with two years ago when the firm found that 50% of truckload carriers were unprepared for CSA 2010 regulations.
While 33% of larger carriers are using electronic logs on all their trucks, more than 55% of smaller carriers are not, the study said.
This disparity indicates how difficult FMCSA’s job will be in using electronic logging devices to enforce hours of service regulations, Batts said.
“Larger carriers have been more rapid in adoption and appear equipped to implement required training of drivers and support staff through their operations. For smaller carriers these changes can be much more of a burden,” she said.