ATA Takes Nuanced Position on Raising Insurance Minimum to $2 MILLION
Arlington, VA – The American Trucking Associations (ATA) has reportedly taken a position on whether or not to support new legislation that would increase minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers to $2 million.
The years-long debate over raising liability insurance requirements for motor carriers was reignited last week when the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved an amendment to the INVEST in America Act, a $500 billion highway bill, which would raise the minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers from $750,000 to $2 million.
The amendment was proposed by Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL) who said he introduced the measure “to support families recovering from crashes.”
The INVEST in America Act has since been rolled into one mammoth $1.5 trillion infrastructure spending package called the Moving Forward Act (MFA).
Proponents of the MFA say the aim of the legislation is “to rebuild American infrastructure — not only our roads, bridges, and transit systems, but also our schools, housing, broadband access, and so much more.”
Trucking groups such as the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) were quick to initially support the INVEST in America Act before Rep. Chuy’s amendment was added.
OOIDA has since withdrawn its support for the bill and blasted the addition of Rep. Chuy’s amendment as a “poison pill.”
OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said, “What this proposal will do is destroy small-trucking businesses in every corner of the country.”
The Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) joined OOIDA in piling on the measure.
“While in a perfect world, an adjustment for inflation would seem reasonable, choosing this year is not only insensitive to the plight independent truckers have experienced since COVID-19 hit, but a downright assault on them,” an SBTC statement said.
Many industry stakeholders wondered what position trucking’s most powerful association would take.
Those who have followed this issue know well the precarious position it puts the ATA in.
Mega carriers, of which ATA counts on significantly for its annual revenue, are more apt to favor increasing the minimum a good bit, even if representatives from those carriers don’t always say so publicly.
Mid to small-sized carriers may favor an increase, but only a modest one.
Five of trucking’s top executives discussed this issue a while back on Transportation Nation Network’s original series show, Beyond The Boardroom.
The question many were asking was will ATA side with it’s largest and most powerful members or hold the line for its smaller carrier members?
An answer came today… well, sort of.
According to Transport Topics, Sean McNally, ATA vice president of communications, issued a statement on the matter.
“ATA does not support an arbitrary increase to minimum insurance limits,” McNally said. “To be an effective tool for improving safety, there must be an open, fair and data-driven process to inform and guide what insurance limits should be, not just inserting a number that trial lawyers pull from thin air.”
The nuanced position doesn’t declare ATA’s opposition to increasing the minimum.
It simply states ATA opposes an “arbitrary increase.”
Based on dozens of conversations with trucking stakeholders, an increase to $1-1.5 million would likely find much more support within the ATA’s rank-and-file membership.
Trusted sources tell Transportation Nation Network a legislative compromise to drop the measure to this range in exchange for ATA’s support could materialize in the weeks to come.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow new developments.