A Cool Million for Insurance?
Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced its plan to raise the commercial truck insurance minimum to $1 million.
The FMCSA justified its stance by stating that the current $750,000 minimum was not enough to cover the costs of some truck accidents. But were they correct in saying that?
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) doesn't think so. "Even though the agency's report confirms that fewer than 1% of all truck-involved accidents result in injuries or property damage that exceed current insurance requirements, it seems pretty clear they plan to raise those requirements anyway," OOIDA executive VP Todd Spencer said.
So why raise the minimum? It's no secret that we live in a lawsuit-hungry society, and lawyers are all too eager to pump up accident cases in hopes of a larger settlement.
Add to that the presence of the Internet, where reports of accidents are instantly spread far and wide, and you have a recipe for the kind of manufactured "outrage" that causes the public to demand more accountability from the government, even when the facts don't match the image of the "dangerous" commercial truck.
Here's another consideration: Will the raised minimum squeeze out the smaller, independent trucking companies in favor of the larger businesses with more money to invest in insurance?
What about trucking safety? The FMCSA's plan to raise minimums would suggest that putting more money into the insurance companies' pockets might motivate drivers to be more careful on the road, reducing the number of accidents.
But "the amount of insurance carried by motor carriers has never been shown to have a correlation with safety," Todd Spencer noted in an OOIDA press release. "The agency seems to be bowing to the economic objectives of the personal injury attorneys and mega-trucking companies who have been campaigning for higher insurance requirements."
What can you do? Whether you do or don't agree that a $1 million insurance minimum is unnecessary, share your thoughts at TruckerToTrucker.com. Come to us for the best prices on commercial trucks and trucking equipment.