Tips for Navigating the National Carrier Hiring Standard

National Carrier Hiring StandardWith the new year comes the activation of new Federal Regulations. While most carriers have been focused on the integration of the ELD Mandate, another government regulation is the creation of the National Carrier Hiring Standard. Although it’s still awaiting official approval by the US Senate, it is expected to pass quickly as the new Congress begins its session the first week of January 2019. For those independent carriers who depend on being hired by the government or private agencies, following the standards set forth by the NCHS will be essential for maintaining their operations.

In the information posted below, we’ll explain some of the facts about the National Carrier Hiring Standard, and three important steps any private owner/operator should follow to ensure once this regulation goes into effect, they can qualify under these terms.

What is the National Carrier Hiring Standard?

The National Carrier Hiring Standard is an amendment within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act which was passed through the US House of Representatives via House Resolution 1120 in April 2018. The NCHS will require that before hiring a motor carrier, a shipper, broker, forwarder, and/or receiver ensure that the motor carrier complies within the following standards:

• They must be properly registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
• The carrier must have obtained the minimum insurance listed in the resolution
• The carrier must not have given an unsatisfactory safety rating

The goal of the NCHS is to standardize industry best practices for hiring a motor carrier that is operating with safe and ethical business practices. Within the resolution, the standards will be monitored and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

To reduce the potential of delays in being hired for LTL or FTL services once this expected regulation is enacted, all carriers should follow these three important steps:

Step #1 – Ensure Your FMCSA Membership is Up to Date

Since the FMCSA will be responsible for overseeing the activation of this potential regulation, being a member of the FMCSA is expected to be a requirement. The FMCSA has established itself as one of the more reliable and ethical safety administrations in the US. Since most professional or large-scale LTL, FTL, and 3PL carriers are currently members of this organization – this new standard is not expected to impact them as much as it will cause problems with independent owner/operators. Most independent operators also fall under FMCSA monitoring and thus have active memberships, but to reduce mistakes and potential delays – being proactive about membership renewal is a smart idea.

Step #2 – Maintain Your Safety Standards

One of the primary factors that will determine qualification under this new standard is the carrier’s safety record. Maintaining a positive safety record is the best way ensure you maintain eligibility.

Here are three ways that any carrier, large or independent can improve their safety standards:

Be Proactive About Routine Service: Most accidents caused by a carrier are due to worn out or components that fail.
Complete a Defensive Driving Training Program: Large companies like Fed Ex, UPS, and more spend millions of dollars on developing driving safety training programs for one reason – they work. Defensive driving has been shown to significantly reduce the potential of on-road accidents – especially in logistics.
Be Strict with Hiring New Drivers: The biggest issue the logistics world is dealing with is qualified CDL drivers. However, compromising safety is no reason to overlook ‘issues’ on a background check.

Step #3 – Be Proactive About Insurance Coverage

The third item listed in the general overview of the NCHS is proper insurance coverage. While the details have yet to be finalized, the key is to stay on top of potential insurance standards. Most carriers (especially the independent operated carriers) tend to choose the most affordable or lowest required insurance. To stay ahead of the curve, and since most insurance policies are completed on an annual basis, make sure to pick an insurance protection program that falls within industry standards.

While 2019 is expected to see some slowdown in Washington DC due to a change in congressional power, the National Carrier Hiring Standard is one of those regulations both parties tend to agree upon. It has quite a way to go within the legislative process and must finally be approved by the President of the United States. If it is approved, carriers from large to small should be prepared for quick activation of this regulation – so being proactive about the posted standards above would be a smart idea.