The Hidden Risk of CSA Intervention Notification Requirements in Transportation Contracts

Recently, I have seen several shipper drafted transportation agreements that contain the requirement that Carriers notify them if any CSA BASICS score is over the intervention level. This should be of concern for both shippers and carriers. Why should shippers and carriers be concerned about such a requirement?

Well here is why……the problem with the notice of intervention language is that interventions within the CSA system seem to be changing all the time, and the term intervention has nothing to do with a carrier’s continuing ability to operate. The way CSA works, if you had 10 carriers and all of them were good and safe carriers, 25 percent of them may be placed on intervention status if the intervention threshold is set at 75. Therefore, it is an artificial measure which doesn’t really correlate with how well a carrier is doing.

Also, by setting the bar above what is required for a carrier to operate, shippers could potentially be setting themselves up for liability if a carrier is over the intervention level and the shipper continues to use them. This is unnecessary as the government doesn’t require a carrier to have all of its CSA BASICS in non-intervention status. We believe it is best for both shippers and carriers not to set standards above the “limbo line” set by CSA. It only sets both shippers and carriers up for unnecessary liability.

If a shipper generated contract only requires the carrier to have a satisfactory safety rating and provide prompt notice of any change in that status, then the bar is set at the same level that the government sets for carriers to continue to operate. Then if the carrier injures someone, as long as they have an acceptable safety rating, the shipper should be able to defend any claims for negligent procurement.

However, if the shipper sets the bar higher by requiring a carrier to notify of any change in status or intervention, then the duty is continually flowing and the CSA intervention definitions are continually changing. When shippers set an artificially high standard, that is higher than the government requires, they will most likely be held to that standard by an injured third party.