The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is currently considering new regulations that would raise the federal minimum insurance requirements for trucks and buses.
“This rulemaking is extremely important to help improve accountability and safety for all motorists,” said American Association for Justice President Lisa Blue Baron. “Increasing insurance minimums will help restore justice for all Americans injured by trucks.”
Nearly four thousand people die in truck crashes each year. A fatal truck crash often costs over $4.3 million, but truck drivers are only required to maintain insurance policies of $750,000. This insurance requirement was set over 30 years ago and has never been adjusted, not even for inflation.
“Outdated insurance requirements allow trucking companies to skirt responsibility and leave injured motorists and taxpayers to pay the difference,” added Baron.
Earlier this year, FMCSA, in its own study to Congress, concluded the costs of injuries and fatalities arising from crashes far exceed the minimum insurance levels interstate operators are required to carry. Additionally. the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has noted the minimum insurance requirements have languished for decades and need to be improved.
In this Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), the FMCSA has asked 26 questions to commenters, including inquiries related to adequate compensation for victims and the impacts of increasing the minimum levels of insurance. After the initial comment period ends on February 26, 2015, the agency will review all submissions and may issue a proposed rule.