Before Carrier Assure offered the industry an easy performance score, brokers and shippers would spend a significant amount of time manually vetting third-party motor carriers before tendering a shipment. The problem is that there is so much data available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that it is difficult to properly analyze the data without creating liability. Here, we will outline the manual analysis to demonstrate that sifting through a carrier’s violations is not the best use of time and can create more liability as well.
Hiring a freight carrier with a drug violation: what to consider?
There are many things to consider when hiring a carrier. But there's one that certainly stands out: drug violations. Would you hire a carrier with a violation for possession of a narcotic drug/amphetamine?
Even though it may sound like a simple question, and some may answer "no" instantly, there are a couple of things to consider before working with a carrier with a drug violation. For instance, what if the carrier's DOT performance is doing well compared to other carriers of similar size and it's not over the threshold for any category? Ah, the plot thickens.
We had a conversation with T.J. Chittenden, Director of Operations and Capital Logistics, and Anastasia Melody, Carrier Administration Manager at Ease Logistics, where we dove deep into the topic; here are just some of the highlights.
So, you're faced with an excellent performing carrier overall, but the carrier has a drug violation. What should you consider when deciding to work with the carrier? Here are some questions that can help you out.
- What was the violation for?
- What's the company's size?
- Is it a company that has a safety department?
- Are they big enough to support a substantial process for safety vetting?
- What actions did the company take for this violation?
- Is it an owner-operator? Or is it a bigger company?
Drug violation scenarios
There are also different types of scenarios where carriers can get a violation. For example, what if you’ve been working with a carrier and they get the violation while they’re working with you...do you continue to work with them?
Depending on the violation and what actually happened, you may consider working with the carrier again. If so, it’s essential to consider this when you’re vetting new carriers. If they do have a violation, then there’s still a possibility that you’ll work with them.
Other Carrier Red Flags
Checking the contact information allows you to avoid any service or safety issues since you’ll know if the load is being shipped or tracked by a legitimate company or if it’s a fraudulent email that’s looking to steal your freight.
Consider the following when checking the contact information:
- When the email does not match the name of the company.
- “Undeliverable mail” alert.
Checking the company’s inspections is critical, but it will also depend on the number of trucks the company has registered. For example, if they have ninety trucks and only two inspections, it’s not as trustworthy as a company with the same number of trucks but many more inspections.
Why are inspections so important?
Inspections allow you to see that the carriers you’re working with are a real company and have the number of trucks they say they do.
One of the features of Carrier Assure is to assist brokers with determining if carriers should be used for local runs or long-haul shipments. The locations of inspections help brokers determine the best carrier for a load because we can see how far and where a carrier typically travels.
For example, if you are booking an Ohio carrier on a route from Illinois to California and they only have inspections in the Midwest, that could mean they have never traveled as far as California, or potentially they are running these routes with a truck not owned by the carrier to track inspections. This is not a fail-proof way to determine local runs vs long haul shipments for a carrier, but it is great information to aid brokers in decision making.
Another red flag is companies that have similar MC numbers. Checking the MC number is critical since it’s the unique identifier each company has, which shows its authority.
Hiring a carrier is no easy task since there are many things to consider, especially if you want to know how they’ll perform and if they’re a good match for your business. Even though drug violations can be very detrimental for a carrier, companies must ask themselves the above questions and think about the different scenarios when working with a carrier with a drug violation.
The good news is that Carrier Assure does all of this work for you! You don’t need to dig through violations or balance inspections or analyze contact information. Thousands of data points and algorithms do all the work for you resulting in an easy-to-understand score.
Do you need more information about a carrier? Are you struggling to find the right fit? Head on over to CarrierAssure.com to find the freight unicorns (high-performing carriers) of the industry!