Roughly 450,000 carriers could lose business over highway billā€™s ā€˜hiring standardsā€™

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Updated Nov 15, 2015

2015 11 03 16 25The Houseā€™s recent passage of a long-term highway bill has been largely celebrated by trucking industry stakeholders, but one section of the bill is still giving pause to many in trucking, especially small carriers and owner-operators.

As CCJ reported prior to the billā€™s passage, broker and owner-operator advocacy groups were pursuing a change to the bill during the amendment process that would fix a portion of the bill that sets so-called ā€œinterim hiring standardsā€ for those making carrier hiring decisions, such as brokers. The fix, however, was pulled from the House floor, and the bill subsequently cleared Congressā€™ lower chamber with the language intact. A fix could still come, however, in the Senate-House conference committee on their two respective highway bills.

The standards set in the House bill could potentially exclude hundreds of thousands of carriers from being qualified as ā€œhireableā€ in the eyes of the highway bill as-is. CCJ sister site Overdrive this week dug into RigDig Business Intelligence data earlier this week to show that the hiring standards could negatively affect roughly 440,000 carriers ā€” those with either a ā€œconditionalā€ or ā€œunratedā€  FMCSA safety rating.

Check the numbers here:

RigDig Business Intelligence adjusted active for-hire carriers, by Safety Rating

Safety Rating # of Carriers # of Power Units # of Drivers
Satisfactory 35,940 1,494,021 1,598,373
Conditional 10,050 131,018 114,046
Unrated 428,108 1,390,693 1,449,523

The hiring standards named in the bill come parallel to the legislationā€™s call to remove CSA scores from public view. The problem is, however, unlike a standalone bill introduced earlier this year, one of the three carrier hiring criteria says shippers and brokers should make certain a carrier ā€œhas been given a satisfactory rating in FMCSAā€™s safety rating system.ā€

That language excludes the 428,000 unrated rated carriers and the 10,050 conditionally rated carriers.

And as the chart shows, many of those carriers are likely smaller carriers. The 428,108 ā€œunratedā€ carriers have on average 3.25 trucks, where as the 35,940 carriers with a ā€œsatisfactoryā€ rating have on average 41 trucks.

Click here to read more from Overdriveā€™s report.