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proposed driver's weight certificate would amount to a needless duplication of work in view of the present regulation already contained in subsections 1056.6(a) and (b) (49 CFR 1056.6).3
The Household Goods Carriers' Bureau, an association of approximately 1,500 household goods members, supports the petition to eliminate the vehicle-load manifest. It also believes that the proposed weight certificate can remedy the deficiencies of the vehicle-load manifest, and clearly provide the shipper with a summary of the method in which his individual shipment was weighed, and clear statement of its weight on a form designed for him specifically.
The National Furniture Warehouse men's Association (NFWA), an organization of over 1,000 house hold goods warehouse men, most of whom are agents for interstate house hold goods carriers, is convinced that the driver's weight certificate is superior to the present vehicle-load manifest requirement for security compliance with this Commission's rules of governing the report of weights. It cites as an acute problem the fact that a shipment must be listed on the manifest of every vehicle by which it is transported. It notes the possibility of manifests on as many as four vehicles in the movement of one shipment (pickup vehicle, initial line-haul units, replacement unit on breakdown, and connecting carrier). It contends that this proliferation of paperwork encountered by a van chauffeur or owner-driver using the vehicle-load manifest is burdensome and presents potential for copyreading errors.
Security Van Lines, Inc., a motor common carrier of household goods, contends that shippers do not use the vehicle-load manifest to verify the weight accuracy of their shipments. It states that it has never had an inquiry or comment from a shipper about a vehicleload manifest, and no more than one or two inquiries from military transportation officers or inspectors, during the entire time that the form has been in existence.
Security favors the use of the proposed driver's weight certificate, and offers supplemental suggestions to improve the format of the certificate. It proposes (1) that the “warning" statement should be printed in red in not less than 8-point boldface type, (2) that a space should be provided on the certificate to indicate the weight of the tractor-trailer (or van), complete with pads and burlaps, but without the driver or crew, prior to the loading of the first shipment on the load, (3) that a space should be provided for the driver to list any significant changes in the pads, burlaps, dollies, and other van equipment subsequent to obtaining the above-mentioned empty weight, (4) that, in addition to listing the names and carrier's reference numbers for other shipments on the van, the net weight of each such shipment should be shown, and (5) that all weights should be obtained without the driver or crew on the van.
'Subsection 1056.6(a) requires house hold goods carriers to enter the gross and net weights of each shipment on the accompanying bill of lading. Subsection 1056.6(b) requires the carrier to obtain a weight ticket signed by the weighmaster or its driver for each weighing required under section 1056.6, with tare and gross weights evidenced by separate tickets. As soon as such weight tickets are obtained, copies thereof are to be attached to the bill of lading. Finally, a copy of each weight ticket pertaining to a shipment is to be given to the shipper at the weighing station if the shipper is present or upon delivery of the shipment if the shipper is not present at the weighing.
In addition, Security suggests that the new rule, to avoid possible confusion, should specify that if a second driver hauls a shipment that has previously been weighed, it will not be necessary for that driver to complete a new certificate. Security also suggests that a statement be included in the proposed rule or in the text of this Commission report, specifically allowing scale operators to adapt their weight tickets to conform to the format of the driver's weight certificate. Security notes that the Summary of Information for Shippers of House hold Goods (the BOp 103 pamphlet)* contains information about the vehicle-load manifest, which will have to be revised to conform to the new rule. Accordingly, Security requests that a special addendum be prepared by the Commission explaining the driver's weight certificate, and that carriers be allowed to use that addendum with their current supply of BOp 103 pamphlets for a period of 1 year following adoption of the new rule. Finally, Security states that if the new rule is adopted by this report, the effective date should be 90 days following service of this Commission's report and order to allow carriers sufficient time to obtain the new forms, distribute them throughout their organizations, and instruct all personnel in their usage.
J. B. Meyers Transfer & Storage, an agent for Security, and Austin Moving & Storage both favor elimination of the vehicle-load manifest. In addition, they support adoption of the proposed driver's weight certificate, believing that this form will both simplify paperwork and prove less confusing to the shipper. Finally, the Cities Service Company, engaged in the exploration, production, manufacture, and sales of a broad range of products throughout the United States, transfers personnel between its numerous facilities and is a substantial user of the services of the household goods carriers. In its opinion, adoption of the proposed driver's weight certificate will be a significant improvement over the presently used vehicle-load manifest.
*49 CFR 1056.7 requires household goods carriers to supply every prospective shipper with the summary of information set forth in Form BOp 103 (49 CFR 1003.1). a copy of the Commission's Public Advisory Number 4, and a summary of its last past annual performance report containing information regarding underestimates. late deliveries, and settlement of claims.
DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
The transportation industry, and in particular the moving industry, is a service industry. This Commission is obligated to assure the public that this industry adheres to the highest practicable performance standards consistent with the public interest. In the past, when we found that motor common carriers of household goods failed in certain instances to provide needed services, this Commission has taken appropriate action. At the same time, we have always been careful not to impair unduly the ability of carriers to provide safe, adequate, economical, and efficient service. We are confronted in the involved proceeding with the question of whether an existing regulation is actually in the public interest or whether, in its practical operation, it is in fact too great a burden for the carrier and a source of confusion for shippers. This situation must be carefully examined with a view toward protecting the inexperienced house holder while not burdening the carrier to the point where its operations become impractical or uneconomical. Our goal is to achieve a delicate balance aimed at avoiding any oppressive regulations (which could lead to constraining carrier management from adapting to changing circumstances and dulling carrier initiative and incentive to serve), but still eliminating and discouraging all unfair and improper carrier practices to the fullest extent of our authority and ability.
With these thoughts in mind, and after consideration of the pleadings filed herein, we are of the view that the proposed change in our regulations is in the public interest. All of the parties agree that the vehicle-load manifest has proven to be impractical and ineffective in actual operation. The carriers and carrier associations state that the vehicle-load manifest requirement is a cumbersome and burdensome obligation, as well as a serious source of inadvertent error and technical violation of our rules.
As has been pointed out by petitioner, the concept underlying the use of the vehicle-load manifest is often factually unrealistic. In the situation of “pickup and hold” or storage-in-transit al origin, the gross and tare weights of the shipment shown on the original vehicle-load manifest of the pickup vehicle are different from the gross and tare weights of the shipment shown on the manifest of the delivery van. Accordingly, this is a source of confusion to the shipper and in fact renders the vehicle-load manifest information meaningless to him.
For these reasons, we believe that the present vehicle-load manifest requirement specified in section 1056.11 of our regulations should be eliminated and a new section 1056.11, as set forth in the Federal Register notice attached hereto, should be adopted. We likewise deem the use of the proposed driver's weight certificate to be desirable. Although we realize that, as pointed out by Movers Round Table, this same weight information is recorded on the bill of lading, it does not appear too great a burden to require the carrier to give the proposed certificate to each shipper. The form is uncomplicated and will allow a shipper to easily check the weight of his own shipment upon delivery. Accordingly, the regulation adopted herein will specify the form for the new driver's weight certificate to be used by the household goods moving industry. This form is included in the notice attached.
The adoption of this new section 1056.11 necessitates certain editorial changes in section 1056.6, primarily to eliminate those references to the vehicle-load manifest which are contained therein. These changes are also set forth in the notice attached hereto. Likewise, the new rule makes it necessary to revise the BOp 103 pamphlet to delete references to the vehicle-load manifest. We are aware of this and other changes which will have to be made in the shippers' information booklet as a result of the action taken both here and in other proceedings in the household goods moving area. We will appropriately revise the BOp 103 when these other pending proceedings are completed. '
In summary, we believe that the new section 1056.11 will prove beneficial to both carriers and shippers of household goods.
We find that Part 1056 of Chapter X of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations should be amended by modifying sections 1056.6 and 1056.11, as set forth in the notice appended to this report; that such rules are reasonable and necessary to the effective enforcement of the provisions of part II of the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended, and that such rules are otherwise lawful, and to the extent found in this report are required by the present and future public convenience and necessity; and that this decision is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment within the meaning of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
"These proceedings include Ex Parte No. MC-19 (Sub-No. 20), Practices of Motor Common Carriers of Household Goods (Limitations of Liability) and Parte No. MC-19 (Sub-No. 24), Practices of Motor Common Carriers of Household Goods (Collection of Freight Charges On Substantially Lost Or Destroyed Shipments of Household Goods).