Finding a carrier to move freight is fast and easy these days, but the question remains: Did I choose the right one?
Carrier411 CEO and Founder Darren Brewer has made it his mission to protect companies from unsafe and unqualified carriers. Brewer sat down with FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller on the FreightWavesTV show, “Fuller Speed Ahead,” to discuss how Carrier411 protects companies from unsafe carriers.
“Brokers use us every day to research, qualify and monitor the carriers that they use to make hiring decisions,” Brewer said.
Carrier411 monitors trucking companies for quality assurance and rates them on a variety of safety and performance benchmarks. Carrier411 says it tracks over 1 million companies in its database, which includes every broker, motor carrier and freight forwarder registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The monitoring service aggregates 18-20 FMCSA data sources under subscription with the FMCSA, according to Brewer. In fact, Carrier411 has access to FMCSA data that isn’t even publicly available on the agency’s own site, as well as archived FMCSA data going back 15 years.
Carrier411 ranks carriers using the SMS BASIC scoring system, which takes into account a carrier’s record of unsafe driving, hours-of-service (HOS) compliance, driver fitness, record of controlled substances and alcohol use, and vehicle maintenance.
“Obviously carriers that have safety problems can be targets for inspection by the FMCSA,” Brewer said. “If they have high driver and vehicle out-of-service percentages, that’s going to be a problem for a broker if the freight is on that carrier’s truck.”
According to its website, Carrier411 makes it easy to create a Due Diligence Certificate and PDF Eco-Cert™ Certificate. To provide proof of due diligence, Carrier411 also logs every time you inspect a carrier’s safety rating, SMS BASIC score, and insurance and authority.
“Everything that all of our customers does is tracked and logged,” Brewer said. “Every single carrier that they look up is tracked and logged, and we retain those access logs as long as someone remains a customer.”
Brokers make up about 80% of Carrier411’s customer base, according to Brewer. Ten percent are shippers and manufacturers, while the remaining 10% are vertical market customers, such as transportation factoring companies and those in truck sales and leasing.
“We have customers of all sizes from brokers that were just granted authority yesterday to mega brokers,” Brewer said.
He founded Carrier411 15 years ago to give freight brokers a resource to track the quality and performance of carriers.
“I started the company as a source for brokers because at the time there was nothing out there for them to research, qualify and monitor carriers,” Brewer said.
“Probably the two main categories that brokers are most concerned about are unsafe driving and HOS compliance, he added. “They’re also very focused on controlled substances and alcohol. A lot of brokers won’t even use a carrier if they have any kind of violations for controlled substances.”
Negligent hiring, vicarious liability and negligent selection of motor carriers are on everyone’s mind, according to Brewer. He has seen a number of Carrier411 customers involved in negligent-hiring lawsuits worth upwards of $100 million but said he will defend his customers if they’re in that situation. Brewer has even served as an expert witness in three negligent-hiring lawsuits in which he helped the carrier avoid legal charges.
“I’ve always told customers since the day I started the company that if they ever find themselves in that unfortunate position, as long as they’re a Carrier411 customer, we’re standing behind them. They have our full support,” Brewer said.