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Lawmakers To Discuss Increases in Commercial Vehicle Insurance Requirements

Posted on December 2, 2013

It has been over thirty years since Congress set minimum insurance requirements for trucking companies to meet before being allowed to do business in the U.S.

In 1980, Congress deregulated the trucking industry, causing many to fear that the federal government could not keep tabs on the burgeoning growth of truck companies. To allay some of those fears, Congress authorized the Secretary of Transportation to set minimum amounts of insurance and to increase those requirements as part of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980.

Ostensibly, this was supposed to act as a deterrent for negligent truck drivers and trucking companies by allowing insurance companies to provide economic incentives for operating safe trucking companies. The idea, on paper at least, was that insurance companies would get bad actors off the road by pricing them out of the market in the underwriting process.

The minimum insurance level for trucks transporting property was set at $750,000 and $5 million for trucks carrying hazardous materials. That minimum level has not changed since 1980.

Those who are arguing for an increase say that $750,000 wasn’t enough to cover catastrophic injuries and damages a truck might cause in a crash in 1980, let alone today. A recent study showed that the $750,000 minimum set in 1980, adjusted for increased medical costs and inflation, would be about $4.5 million today.

In July, U.S, Representative Matt Cartwright (D-Pa) introduced the Safe and Fair Environment on Highways Achieved Through Underwriting Levels Act. This proposed legislation is aimed at addressing the discrepancy between current minimum trucking liability insurance levels and today’s realities. The bill has been assigned to the House Transportation and Infrastructure and Highway and Transit Committee.

The truck accident attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville believe that the victims of truck crashes caused by negligent truckers or trucking companies should be adequately compensated for their injuries and other damages. We will be watching the progress of this important proposed legislation.

If you have a question about an accident you have had with a truck, call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online. Your no-obligation case review is free.