Carrier Safety: FMCSA withdraws plans to create new safety ratings

In late 2015, Sunset’s regular opinion column, Freight for Thought, focused on the impending FAST Act, and one of the key pieces of that Act detailed how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) planned to investigate and potentially revamp the safety fitness determination (SFD) for motor carriers.  This initiative required FMCSA to pull the Safety Measurement System (SMS) BASIC carrier rankings from public view, with many industry groups supporting the initiative to remove and replace the flawed scoring system.

Two years later, as of March 23, 2017, the FMCSA officially published their withdrawal of the SFD plan, citing that it awaits the results as it awaits a major study of the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program by the National Academies of Science as required by the FAST Act before issuing a revised SFD proposal.  This request follows lobbying of several dozen truck and bus trade organizations to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to rescind and delay the proposal pending the full outcome of the study.

What does this mean for shippers?

The truth is, if you’re a Sunset customer, most of the uncertainty in choosing carriers is done for you through our extensive qualification processes.  We utilize several resources for this, including Carrier411 and the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), and we are continuously updating our in-house carrier profiles to provide our entire team with first-hand data.  The providers chosen for your shipments are highly vetted, and we do our very best to make your freight move as smoothly as possible.

To learn more about the steps Sunset takes to qualify carriers by emailing our Safety Manager Jenn Wood at [email protected], or our carrier relationship manager Mike Fritz at [email protected].

If you’re not yet a Sunset customer, we understand how tricky it is to navigate the highway of carrier providers out there.  Do you have routing guides and carrier compliance practices in place?  Are your carriers using Macropoint GPS tracking on every load?  Does your current 3PL have a claims assistance program in place for when things don’t quite go as planned?

If the answer is no to any of these questions, it may be time to evaluate your current service provider, and ensure your carriers are the best fit for the job at hand.

What does this mean for Sunset carriers?

If you’re a Sunset carrier, know that we value our relationships with you.  Sunset takes pride in the caliber of drivers and teams we work with, and above all, providing fair and transparent communication for both our shippers and carriers.  For more information on Sunset’s requirements for carriers, visit our dedicated carrier section on

Sources: Transport Topics and the Transportation Intermediaries Association