Transportation Liability - Busting the Most Common Myths

Transportation Liability – Busting the Most Common Myths

There are many things that you should know about transportation liability! There are facts and there is fiction, and you as a trucker or an owner of a trucking company should know to tell the difference.

Not knowing the difference can cost you big time.

Not knowing the difference between a professional truck driver and a driver is one thing. If you can’t tell the difference between the perfect drivers resume and just a regular resume or a best truck tire and any other tire, in many cases will not make much difference!

But not knowing the fine line of transportation liability myths and reality is something else. So, before you get your next load, you should pay close attention and take stuff serious.


The contracts negotiated between a shipper and a carrier often blurs the lines of who is responsible in cases something goes wrong. So it’s important for you to understand the transportation liability and the real risks of transporting goods.

When you tender a load of freight next time, make sure you know and understand the real transportation liability issues that might affect your liability.

There are many common transportation liability myths. Some of them have been busted already. Here is just a few:

  • An FMCSA carrier safety record doesn’t protect you from liability;
  • Broker/carrier contracts aren’t standard (read the fine print);
  • There’s a difference between domestic and international transportation liability;
  • A claimant’s attorney can move up the supply chain and find a shipper liable;
  • Having insurance doesn’t necessarily shield you from liability;
  • A broker may not cover everything that happens during the transportation of goods.

Transportation liability insurance is complicated and that is why for, you need a real peace of mind when shipping freight.

Transportation Liability Then and Now

I know there was a time when transportation liability was much simpler process to understand and comply with. The law was a law! No fine prints on the bottom of the page, no constant use of the word “exception”.

But, these days you should constantly visit government sides and make sure stuff didn’t changed since last time you was visiting.

Back in the days, the carriers were the one responsible for the freight until it was delivered safely at its destination, but now things have changed.


With all those individual contracts negotiated between the shipper and the carrier, both sides are concerned and puzzled until the final outcome, and in many cases, by the outcome as well!

For any possible transportation incident that occurs, such as cargo theft and property damage or injuries, they don’t know for sure whose fault will be till attorneys have a close look at the transportation liability paperwork.

Both sides are held responsible, regardless which side is on the wrong, till detailed analyzes are made and reviewed.


And like that by itself is not enough, on the top of everything  you have the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) evolving Compliance Safety  Accountability (CSA) program and Safety Measurement System (SMS), which are confusing shippers even more!

With that said, the transportation liability is a proven and reasonable fear for many shippers!

It will come right next the tax time fear! And we all hate April when Uncle Sam comes to see who was good this year!


Well same goes for transportation liability; it’s good and bad at the same time and so confusing that shippers often wonder what actions they should take next!

It makes them pay closer attention to detail of the contract language and the insurance policies.

However, transportation liability has its own myths that for some shippers are hard to overcome. They still hold some misconceptions about their liability status.

Transportation Liability Most Common Myths

There are myths for pretty much everything out there, but when it comes to transportation liability myths I can’t go further without saying Wow!!

There are some myths that are so obviously not true, but people from one reson or another refuse to believe that.


With that said, here in addition of this article I will try to explain the few most common transportation liability myths.

Transportation Liability Myth #1: “One Set of Blanket Rules Covers Everything!”

Make sure you understand the actual requirements. This is the most overlooked thing when it comes to transportation liability. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Is not”. Well I am here to tell is too!


Hey! I'm George J.Magoci and I will send you a FREE eBook where you can learn 12 secret steps how to make $950 more truck/month.

Free ebook

Are you of those shippers who think CSA 2010/SMS methodology is the only law of the land? Let me guess, you feel compelled, if not required to use it when safety records are to be verified. You swing on over to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and look up everything you can.

Well if were only that simple. However, numerous insurance companies are making that mistake when figuring insurance rates. They are actually making this a part of the overall procurement determinations!

Transportation Liability

Now, I am not saying it isn’t a great tool. What I am saying is that CSA 2010/SMS methodology isn’t what everyone thinks it is. By that I mean to say that it is not the law. As a matter of fact the FMCSA hasn’t been officially authorized to use it.  I am not saying it isn’t in use, just not an actual law.

Splitting hairs perhaps, but the FMCSA legal requirement is to determine a motor carriers’ safety. Transportation liability is directly tied into safety, as we all know. But the measures used to determine this are still under debate.


So there lies the confusion. There needs to be a better understanding of the rules and regulations as they apply to the carriers, drivers, and all the other involved in the safe transportation of freight.

Something else to consider, in addition to federal regulation there are state and even local guidelines to consider! Transportation liability doesn’t start and end with the FMCSA.

Transportation Liability Myth #2: “All Contracts Cover All Parties Involved”

When it comes to transportation liability, just like not all trucker hats can cover every head, neither do all contracts. It is up to you to have a full understanding of the contract. Make sure you know your contracts, inside and out, because if you don’t it will come back to bite you.



< Page 1 / 4 >