FMCSA Chief Gives His Take on Raising Insurance Minimum to $2 MILLION
Washington D.C. – The Acting Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently weighed in on the ongoing fight in Congress regarding increasing the liability insurance minimum for motor carriers.
The $1.5 trillion infrastructure spending bill includes multiple controversial provisions including increasing motor carriers’ liability insurance minimum from $750,000 to $2 million.
The MFA was approved by the Democratically-controlled House in a 233 to 188 vote largely along party lines.
Last week, Jim Mullen, Acting Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), was asked about the Agency’s position on the insurance minimum issue during an appearance at the Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) Virtual Safety & Security Conference.
Mullen was quick to point out the FMCSA does have authority related to insurance minimum standards.
“It’s our jurisdiction,” he said. “Quantifying what that minimum should be has really been the challenge for the Agency all along.”
You may recall that in 2014, during the Obama Administration, the FMCSA initiated an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for the purpose of exploring an increase.
However, the Trump Administration was not inclined to proceed down this path.
In 2017, the FMCSA withdrew the ANPRM and cited “a lack of data from key stakeholders.”
Moreover, Mullen would not reveal exactly what the Agency’s thinking is at this time.
“For right now, I need to take a pass on what we think of that $2 million because this is Congress’ game right now and we don’t comment on what Congress is up to while they are still up to it. So, I’m going to take a pass on the substance of it,” Mullen commented.
Multiple trucking groups have expressed outrage over Democrats’ attempt to hike insurance minimums particularly during the devastating economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 national emergency.
However, it’s no secret that there is a degree of support among some trucking stakeholders to increase the minimum from $750,000.
On Wednesday, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) expressed its support for the bill.
Despite a recent statement from an ATA spokesperson indicating the association opposed a $2 million “arbitrary increase” to minimum insurance requirements, ATA president Chris Spear applauded House Democrats and particularly Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
“The House majority not only introduced an infrastructure bill, they passed it,” Spear said. “Chairman DeFazio is to be commended for having the courage to lead an issue critical to our nation’s economy and future.”
Click HERE to read more of what ATA had to say.
The MFA will now head to the Republican-controlled Senate where it is expected to be met with opposition.