Commercial motor carriers in the United States are currently required to have a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance. That minimum has not been raised in nearly 30 years. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), if insurance regulation in the trucking industry had been adjusted for inflation, then the minimum would now be $1.62 million. If the regulation had taken into account increased medical costs, then the minimum would be $3.18 million.
The FMCSA has prioritized raising the minimum liability insurance for carriers after finding the current minimum “inadequate.” Now the agency has set a timeline for a rule change, though the exact target for a new minimum has yet to be decided. According to the Department of Transportation, the FMSCA plans to send a proposal to the White House and to the Office of the Secretary this summer. The new requirement could be published by mid-November.
Some organizations representing the trucking industry claim that a change in insurance requirements is unnecessary. According to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, only 1 percent of truck accidents lead to claims of more than $750,000 in damages. However, the Trucking Alliance, which is an organization of carrier fleets, claims that 42 percent of settlements paid by its members exceeded $750,000. Each side of the argument has questioned the veracity of the other’s data.
A safety committee from the FMCSA is reportedly meeting in Virginia to address these issues, and we can hope that the outcome better protects victims of trucking accidents.
Our personal injury website has more on protecting your rights and interests after a crash.
Source: Go By Truck News, “Timeline Set for Insurance Rule,” May 22, 2014
Source: Overdrive, “FMCSA: Current insurance minimums for carriers ‘inadequate,’ new rule coming,” James Jaillet, April 22, 2014