FMCS Moves to Raise Truck Insurance Minimums
In a move that is hotly disputed by many truckers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) plans to raise the truck insurance minimum from the current $750,000 to $1 million. In a recent report to Congress, FMCSA said current insurance minimums are not high enough to cover the costs of some commercial truck accidents. As noted on TheTrucker.com, commercial truck drivers have become an easy target for fee-hungry attorneys who often force truck accident cases into court in hopes of winning a lucrative settlement.
Facts Don't Back Up Need for Increase
The plan to raise truck industry insurance rates was challenged by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) which pointed out that FMCSA's own statistics did not back up the agency's claim that greater insurance minimums are necessary.
"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 in an OOIDA press release.
Comments by the Truckload Carriers Association and American Trucking Associations (ATA) echoed OOIDA's stance that there is no need to increase the current insurance minimum. "ATA has yet to see any evidence that increased insurance minimums will lead to improved highway safety," said Sean McNally, ATA communications VP.
One More Unnecessary Expense
The financial repercussions of another government-mandated expense could be potentially disastrous for many independent owner-operators and small trucking businesses, potentially forcing them out of business, warned OOIDA's Spencer.
"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. Trial lawyers will see windfall payouts in the increases, and big trucking companies -- who already use special exceptions in the law to avoid buying insurance on the open market - see an opportunity to drive up business costs and do away with their small-business competitors," Spencer charged.