FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

Floor Speech

Date: April 27, 2018
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Transportation


Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee. Mr. Chairman, this is a very simple amendment to establish a national standard of care for hiring freight shippers. This is purely and simply about highway safety, and everything carried on planes, of course, goes to and from on our highways.

Currently, there is no law that requires freight brokers or others to have any sort of standard when hiring a carrier for a shipment. Under this amendment, a broker or other entity would be deemed to have acted in a reasonable and prudent manner if they made sure the carrier met these three requirements:

One, authorization to operate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration;

Two, the minimum insurance coverage required by Federal law; and

Three, that the carrier had no current Federal unsatisfactory safety fitness determination.

This amendment does not prohibit or limit in any way any type of lawsuit, and, in fact, a lawyer could show that a broker or a company had acted in an unreasonable manner if they did not comply with this hiring standard. This amendment would actually help trial lawyers by giving them stronger grounds to sue brokers who did not comply with this standard and tried to get cheaper rates by using unsafe or uninsured carriers.

This amendment would also make it less likely that a person or a company that hired a safe, legal motor carrier would be held liable for an accident that happened through no fault of their own.

This amendment also will help make it far less likely that unregistered, uninsured, unsafe freight carriers get any business in this country in the future.


Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee. Mr. Chair, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Shuster), the chairman of the committee.


Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee. Mr. Chair, I will simply say this: neither of the cases cited by the opposition would be stopped under this amendment. In fact, this amendment would make it more likely that freight brokers would be required to hire safe, insured carriers for their shipments, so it would make the highways safer.

Mr. Chair, I urge support for my amendment. It is an amendment about fairness and justice, because all lawyers--I was a plaintiff's lawyer before I came to Congress, and I have supported the trial lawyers in every way possible in my 30 years here, but I can tell you, no lawyers want people sued who have done nothing whatsoever wrong in a case.

Mr. Chair, I urge passage of this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.