Household Goods Updates from the FMCSA

 

The FMCSA Administrator testified in front of the Senate on September 20, 2012.  Here are some highlights:

  • In April 2009, FMCSA implemented a vetting program to thoroughly review applications from household goods motor carriers, brokers, and freight forwarders before granting operating authority. The vetting process is an in-depth investigation of the applicant to determine if it is a reincarnated carrier, broker, or freight forwarder, or has affiliations with unsafe or non-compliant entities.
  • Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (“MAP-21”) directs the Secretary of Transportation to issue distinctive registration numbers to a person for each authority they request to provide transportation or services such as brokering or freight forwarding. MAP-21 also increases the level of financial responsibility necessary to be registered as a broker, from $10,000 in surety bonds or other financial instruments to $75,000 in order to help address claims from failure to pay freight charges under a contract or agreement. Household goods motor carriers will also be required to successfully pass an examination to demonstrate knowledge of safety and consumer protection regulations before entering the industry.
  • The FMCSA has implemented a multi-layered approach to improving the safety of commercial motor vehicles involved in transporting household goods across State lines, while also ensuring protection against moving fraud and abuses. The main components of the efforts to maintain high standards in the household goods industry are the National Consumer Complaint Database (NCCDB), the Top 100 Household Goods Prioritization list, and the hostage goods resolution program.
  • FMCSA has developed a number of enforcement tools to crack down on those carriers that violate the FMCSRs and the FMCCRs. They have implemented authority to remove from service motor carriers deemed to be unfit or declared an imminent hazard as part of the FMCSA’s core safety program. Most recently, the FMCSA expanded our efforts and established guidance and procedures to revoke the operating authority of motor carriers and brokers that continually violate the safety and/or consumer protection regulations.
  • On January 28, 2011, FMCSA’s new requirements pertaining to brokers who arrange for the transportation of household goods in interstate or foreign commerce went into effect. The rule requires, among other things, that when the Unified Registration System final rule becomes effective, all household goods brokers display a USDOT number on their advertisements and internet Web sites. In an effort to facilitate this requirement in advance of the full compliance date, the Agency has already issued USDOT numbers internally to all brokers in the database.
  • The practice of reincarnating to avoid negative safety performance history or enforcement action causes an unacceptable risk of harm to the public because it hinders the Agency’s ability to enforce Federal safety regulations and carry out its safety mission. A recent amendment to the Agency’s Rules of Practice, effective May 29, 2012, provided procedures for the Agency to issue out-of-service orders and/or record consolidation orders when carriers are deemed to be reincarnated or affiliated companies that have been created to evade complying with an FMCSA order or a regulatory requirement, paying a civil penalty, or responding to an enforcement action to avoid being linked with a negative enforcement history.

To read the full article from the FMCSA, click here.

To view other household goods blog posts, click here.

The Law Office of David Piotrowski can assist moving companies with obtaining their operating authoritycreating a tariff, and creating a custom Bill of Lading and other required household goods moving documents.

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