Carrier Qualification


Carrier Qualifications

Total Connection performs a thorough series of checks to make sure the vetting process for each new carrier is as thorough as possible. Our state of the art dispatch software will flag any carrier qualifications that change and bring them to our attention to be investigated by our carrier qualification team.

TC vets new carriers on a consistent ongoing part of business when there is mutual interest in working together either from the carrier direct or through a referral from an outside party.
The carrier vetting checks include:

  • Dun & Bradstreet credit report: Paydex over 60
  •  TIA Watchdog system – allows brokers to monitor carriers’ past business and any ethical issues that have been reported.
  • TIA broker carrier agreement:
  • Accepted by all members of the TIA, these help to ensure that all parties are protected
  • DAT 360 “Carrier Watch” Monitoring – Each approved carrier in our system is automatically checked daily for changes in carriers’ authority and insurance status, and safety ratings. Integrating Carrier Watch stops the accidental dispatch of an out-of-service or unsafe carrier. The system will advise the dispatcher to take corrective action, or to assign a qualified carrier on the load.

DAT Provides:

  • More than 500,000 transportation companies in a searchable database
  •  Detailed, color-coded carrier profiles highlighting potential problems
  •  Insurance certificates onlines

Alerts include:

  • Change in MC authority, DOT profile, safety ratings, inspections, crash data, insurance policy changes, renewals, and cancellations
  • FMCSA search both provide accurate, in-depth insight of carrier attributes including safety history, equipment, and current operating authority.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (49 U.S.C. 113). Formerly a part of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. Activities of the Administration contribute to ensuring safety in motor carrier operations through strong enforcement of safety regulations; targeting high-risk carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers; improving safety information systems and commercial motor vehicle technologies; strengthening commercial motor vehicle equipment and operating standards; and increasing safety awareness. To accomplish these activities, the Administration works with Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, labor and safety interest groups, and others. 

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) – is an FMCSA initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicles. It introduces a new enforcement and compliance model that allows FMCSA and its State Partners to contact a larger number of carriers earlier in order to address safety problems before crashes occur.

Within the CSA Operational Model, the Safety Measurement System (SMS) quantifies the on-road safety performance of carriers and drivers to identify candidates for interventions, determine the specific safety problems that a carrier or driver exhibits, and to monitor whether safety problems are improving or worsening. SMS has replaced SafeStat in the new Operational Model.
SMS uses a motor carrier’s data from roadside inspections, including all safety-based violations, State-reported crashes, and the Federal motor carrier census to quantify performance in the following Behavior

Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) CSA BASICS

  •  Unsafe Driving — Operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by drivers in a dangerous or careless manner. Example violations: Speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 395)
  • Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance — Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in non-compliance with the HOS regulations. This BASIC includes violations of regulations pertaining to records of duty status (RODS) as they relate to HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue Example violations: HOS RODS, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 395)
  •  Driver Fitness — Operation of CMVs by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. Example violations: Failure to have a valid and appropriate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV. (FMCSR Parts 383 and 391)
  •  Controlled Substances/Alcohol — Operation of CMVs by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Example violations: Use or possession of controlled substances/alcohol. (FMCSR Parts 382 and 392)
  • Vehicle Maintenance — Failure to properly maintain a CMV and/or properly prevent shifting loads. Example violations: Brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects, failure to make required repairs, and improper load securement. (FMCSR Parts 392, 393and 396)
  •  Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance — Unsafe handling of HM on a CMV. Example violations: Release of HM from package, no shipping papers (carrier), and no placards/markings when required. (FMCSR Part 397 and Hazardous Materials Regulations Parts 171, 172, 173, 177, 178, 179, and 180)
  •  Crash Indicator — Histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity. It is based on information from State-reported crashes

Key Attributes of the CSA Program:

  • FLEXIBILITY – Adapt to a Changing Environment. Accommodates changes to the transportation environment, such as evolutions in technology and changes in programmatic responsibilities.
  • EFFICIENCY – Maximize Use of Resources. Improves Federal and State enforcement staff productivity, as well as the safety performance of members of the motor carrier community.
  • EFFECTIVENESS – Improve Safety Performance. Identifies behaviors associated with safety risk; focuses compliance, enforcement, and remediation efforts on those unsafe behaviors.
  • INNOVATION – Leverage Data and Technology. Improves safety through the innovative use of technology to track and update safety performance data.
  • EQUITABILITY – Be Fair and Unbiased. Assesses and evaluates motor carrier safety and enforces Federal laws and safety regulations to ensure consistent treatment of similarly situated members of the motor carrier community.


  •  Inspections measure the safety and effectiveness of a trucking companies vehicles, drivers, and handling of Hazmat material if applicable.
  • The amount of successful and unsuccessful inspections are used to calculate an “out of service %”

Given a “Satisfactory” rating TC will only utilize carriers given the following criteria
o Vehicle out of service % no more than the national average
o Driver out of service % no more than the national average
o Hazmat out of service % no more than the national average

The size of fleets vary, and so any discrepancies in the out of service percentage metrics are followed up with a phone interview by upper management to assess the carrier’s possibility for approval.
Carrier approval decision – Total Connection’s Safety Manager will process a final review of each carriers profile and interview them to verify that all information is updated and accurate.

In order to qualify as an approved carrier, the carrier must present the following credentials:

  • Sign our Carrier/Broker agreement
  • Operating Authority must be Active
  •  Insurance Certificate ($5 Million for hazardous materials transporter; $1 Million for transporter of all other commodities)
  • DOT Rating must be Satisfactory. Unrated carriers, or those with a conditional rating will not be contracted.
  •  Documented Emergency Response Program. If all other conditions are satisfied and the Emergency Response Program is undefined, Total Connection will supply the ground rules to be followed in handling emergencies.