House Democrats Defeat Republican Effort to STOP Massive Insurance Hike on Truckers
Washington D.C. – Today, Democrats on the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee defeated a Republican-backed effort to stop a massive insurance hike on truckers.
In a party line voice vote, Democrats turned away Rep. Mike Bost’s (R-IL) amendment to surface transportation reauthorization legislation (also called the Highway Bill) to strike a controversial provision which would increase the minimum amount of insurance required for commercial motor vehicles from $750,000 to $2 million, as well as also directing the minimum to be adjusted for inflation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) every five years.
Citing research showing less than 1% of truck-involved crashes exceed the $750,000 liability minimum, Rep. Bost called the proposed increase in insurance requirements “ridiculous.”
“There’s not one credible ounce of research that indicates that we need to increase this,” Bost stated. “It’s punishment when it isn’t justified.”
Further, he warned, “All products that you purchase are going to increase. It will lead to higher prices for consumers. It will also make sure we will have less drivers and less owners out there.”
— T&I Committee Republicans (@TransportGOP) June 10, 2021
While nearly a dozen Republican lawmakers spoke up in support of Rep. Bost’s amendment during the mark up, only three Democrats on the committee articulated reasons for their opposition.
One of those Democrats was Rep. Jesus Garcia (D-IL).
He called the proposed 167% increase “modest.”
“Minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers were established in 1980 and have never been adjusted for inflation,” he said. “If we were to fully adjust the value to the inflation of rate of medical costs the new minimum would be over $4.7 million.”
Rep. Garcia also deflected criticism leveled by a handful of Republicans that the increase was an assault on small trucking businesses and a major gift to trial lawyers.
“This isn’t about trial lawyers or an attack on truckers,” Garcia pushed back. “It’s about making families who have lost loved ones whole.”
Meanwhile, fierce debate within the trucking industry continues around this issue.
A diverse coalition of more than 60 concerned trade groups including the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA), National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) and almost two dozen State trucking associations, are also speaking out in opposition to an insurance increase.
“Everyone knows this increase will do absolutely NOTHING to improve safety on our highways and will destroy small trucking businesses,” Todd Spencer, president and CEO of OOIDA, said last week. “What good is a highway bill when it does more to support the unbridled greed of trial lawyers than truckers?”
Last week, trucking’s most influential group on Capitol Hill, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), came out in support of the legislation.
An insurance increase is also supported by the mega-carrier-backed Trucking Alliance along with the Truck Safety Coalition.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow the latest developments on the Highway Bill.