Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Your Average Industry Insider, Sorry, I Meant Expert
In Part 10 of our Busting Brokers Series, we looked at the Defense’s strategy of keeping all of it’s “expert opinions” written by industry insiders who make their living off of the transporation industry. Let’s start taking the most cited reports one by one – we’ll start with the Iyoob Report.
The report by Inam Iyoob again is rife with material for cross examination. This report appears to be yet another manufactured piece of evidence by the transportation industry. Let’s look deeper.
First, who does Dr. Iyoob work for? He is the Director of Engineering for Transplace. Does that name sound familiar? That’s right, he works for the company run by our good friend Tom Sanderson discussed above, who thinks competition should be based on on-time performance, not safety, and actively urges those in the transportation industry to do so. Dr. Iyoob’s biography at the Transplace website in fact focuses not on safety issues, but on his having “delivered more than $120 million in annual freight expense cost reductions to a broad base of Transplace customers.” Thus, this “study” comes from the most biased of possible sources—a major broker company itself.
But wait, there’s more. Dr. Iyoob’s report claims that he conducted the review “at the request of ASECTT.” Looking a little deeper, it turns out that, according to the Journal of Commerce, Tom Sanderson—Dr. Iyoob’s boss—was on the board of directors and named Chairman of ASECTT in July 2011.
ASECTT itself is an organization committed to avoiding use of the BASIC safety statistics. Among the ASECTT Membership Requirements, a carrier, shipper, broker, or other member of the transportation industry must affirm the principle that: “Shippers and brokers should be able to rely upon the Agency’s certification as the sole basis for determining carrier fitness, free from vicarious liability pursuant to state law concepts.” Further, among the stated purposes of the organization are as follows:
(2) To ensure that motor carriers authorized by the FMCSA fulfill their non-delegable safety duties under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
(3) To affirm the FMCSA’s duty to determine carrier safety fitness for use by the shipping and traveling public.
(4) To affirm that shippers and brokers can rely upon the Agency’s ultimate fitness determination without exposure to vicarious liability, negligent hiring or negligent selection when the carrier selected has been certified by the Agency for use.
In fact, ASECTT has gone so far as to sue the FMCSA to try and prevent it from releasing BASIC scores to the public and/or suggesting that the public rely upon the BASIC scores as part of their safety determinations. The Circuit Court decision, handed down June 17, 2014, dismissed their petition and provided abundant language supporting the use of the BASIC scores as part of the overall hiring decision. For example, in rejecting ASECTT’s argument that the FMCSA had “forfeited its statutory obligation ‘to credential a carrier as safe” by advising transportation users to make their own business judgments about which carriers to utilize, the Court notedthat the FMCSA’s power point presentation concerning use of the SMS data assumes that businesses make business judgments, and it encourages them to use all of the information to do so. See J.A. 153 (stating that FMCSA “believes that an examination of a motor carrier’s official safety rating in SAFER and their authority and insurance status on L & I, combined with their intervention prioritization status in…SMS, provide users with an informed, current, and comprehensive picture of a motor carrier’s safety and compliance standing” (emphasis added). This is nothing new. The 2010 notice said that the new SMS “would provide…other safety stakeholders such as shippers with regularly updated safety performance assessments through a public website.” 75 Fed. Reg. at 18,257. It requires no leap of logic to expect that such stakeholders would use that information to make their own business judgments. Indeed, as we have noted above, shippers and other safety stakeholders had been using this data for “their own safety analysis and business decisions since 1999“. Id. at 18,257-58 (emphasis added).
Not only does the Circuit Court reject the attack on the FMCSA putting forth data from the SMS system for businesses to use, but the intricate, central involvement of the same key players as those involved with the Iyoob study itself in litigation seeking to prevent use of the BASIC safety information provides further evidence to argue the biased nature of the Iyoob study.
Additionally, again as indicated in the ATRI study, the methodology used in the Iyoob analysis itself uses an incorrect statistical analysis and should not be relied upon.
In our next Busting Brokers article, we are going to delve into the Gimpel Report, written by a man who has about as much experience on the transportation industry as I do on the latest fashions in Paris.
 See Inam Iyoob biography at http://symposium2012.transplace.com/speakers/dr-inam-iyoob-director-engineering-transplace.
 Alliance For Safe, Efficient, and Competitive Truck Transportation, et al. v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, et al., Case No. 12-1305 (D.C. Cir.).
 Alliance For Safe, Efficient, and Competitive Truck Transportation, et al. v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, et al., 755 F.3d 946, 952 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (emphasis in original).