Coalition Ramps Up Pressure on Congress to Impose Huge Insurance Hike on Truckers
Washington D.C. – The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) is ramping up pressure on U.S. lawmakers to impose a dramatic increase in insurance costs on trucking businesses.
In a letter sent to the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee last week, TSC (a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Parents Against Tired Truckers) urged members to support newly re-introduced legislation — H.R. 2687, also called the INSURANCE Act.
The bill directs the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to increase the minimum insurance requirement for interstate motor carriers and index future increases to inflation relating to medical care.
“This issue is about grieving families and not enriching lawyers,” TSC wrote. “It is unfair, unreasonable, and unacceptable to burden innocent victims and survivors of truck crashes, as well as taxpayers, with the crushing costs of lifelong medical care as well as financial responsibility for children, spouses and other dependents left behind, because of irrefutably inadequate insurance coverage.”
Notably, more than 40 victims and the families of those injured or killed in big rig-involved crashes co-signed TSC’s letter.
While the full text of the bill is not yet available, sponsor of the INSURANCE Act, Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), has previously expressed support for raising the minimum level from the current $750,000 — which was last set in 1980 — to as high as $4.9 million.
Just last year, Rep. Garcia offered an amendment to the Moving Forward Act (MFA-HR 2) requiring the minimum to be increased to $2 million.
That legislation sailed through the Democratically-controlled House but met a swift demise in the Republican-controlled Senate.
However, now that Democrats have majorities in the House and Senate, along with President Joe Biden in the White House, TSC and other groups in support of hiking insurance requirements expect action on this issue — and they will likely get it.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has reported extensively in recent months on the renewed push to raise the liability minimum to as high as $4 million and what impacts it would have on the trucking industry.
In fact, in an TNN EXCLUSIVE last week, we reported multiple trusted sources involved in the ongoing negotiations on this matter recently confirmed that the upcoming surface transportation funding reauthorization legislation — often referred to as the “Highway Bill” — will almost certainly include a provision to hike insurance costs.
In a letter sent to the T&I Committee earlier this year, the coalition said it was “wholly unnecessary” to raise the minimum and doing so would “do nothing to improve highway safety.”
“Proposals to raise minimum liability coverage are nothing more than an opportunity for their most ardent supporters — trial lawyers — to receive higher payouts from settlements at the expense of American businesses,” the coalition argued.
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