It’s normal to feel uneasy about giving your car keys to someone else it’s not something we’re used to doing, and cars are expensive but it’s a standard and necessary part of the job for auto movers. Here are the main reasons that your keys are required as part of having your car shipped:
- The driver has to move cars on and off of the transport carrier and occasionally may need to reorganize the positions of the vehicles. This is done so that they are in the correct order for drop off at their respective destinations and so other cars can be picked up if necessary. Any driving of your vehicle is strictly limited to what’s necessary to complete the job and drivers can face serious consequences for not adhering to industry guidelines.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a complete set of keys, including trunk, ignition and glove box, to have a vehicle moved by a transport professional. Without the keys, the vehicle is considered inoperable and requires considerably more labor, additional equipment and a special permit to ship, all of which cause the cost to increase dramatically, not to mention the chances of something going wrong.
Trusting An Auto Shipper With Your Car (And Keys)
Before handing your keys over, make sure you’ve received a bill of lading. This is an important document that should include the full details of the cargo being delivered more or less the invoice for your auto delivery. The bill of lading should have the name of the party shipping the vehicle, the pickup location, destination, and a description of the freight, including the current mileage of the vehicle. In other words, you’ll have an official document indicating how much, if any, your car was moved during shipping.
There have been a number of laws and regulations put in place recently which are working to increase safety, accountability, and oversight of the transport industry as a whole. Starting with the Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century Act in 2012 (also known as MAP-21), there is now more transparency and consumer protection available among auto transport companies than ever before.
A qualified professional will freely share their carrier information, such as their USDOT number and Motor Carrier License number, which are used to track and regulate freight carriers in the United States. This information can be used to look up company performance history and how long a company has been in business.
It’s important to remember that transport carrier drivers are trained professionals with the necessary qualifications and federal licensing required to operate as a motor vehicle carrier. If you ask questions and do some basic research, it’s relatively simple to find a professional auto transport company that you feel good about trusting with your keys.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.