Congress’ Efforts to Increase Trucking and Bus Insurance Limits Progress

Increase_Trucking_Bus_Insurance_LimitsFor decades, there has been inadequate liability insurance for commercial vehicles. This means that if there is a catastrophic accident caused by a commercial vehicle crash, it has a negative impact on Social Security and Medicare. According to congressman Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, there is good news on this front.

Congressman Cartwright stated that he wrote a letter to head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) on October 3, 2013 to address this problem. In that letter, he urged the agency to review the adequacy of the tractor-trailer liability insurance minimum limit mandated by federal law. According to Cartwright, that limit has remained $750,000 for the past 32 years. The letter to Cartwright was co-signed by friends Bruce Braley (D-IA), John Lewis (D-GA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Robert Scott (D-VA), Robert Brady (D-PA), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), and Filemon Vela (D-TX).

Cartwright recently wrote that Ferro responded to the letter. Last week, the FMCSA sent a 14-page report to Congress about the issue. The report concluded that the current limits are insufficient to cover catastrophic crashes, and that in order for existing limits to adjust for healthcare inflation, the following would need to be raised:

  • general tractor-trailers: $750,000 to $3,188,250
  • low-hazard hazmat tractor-trailers: $1 million to $4,251,000 for
  • high-hazard hazmat tractor-trailers: $5 million to $21,255,000
  • small buses: $1.5 million to $6,376,500
  • large buses: $5 million to $21,255,000

The letter also stated that “The Agency has formed a rulemaking team to further evaluate the appropriate level of financial responsibility for the motor carrier industry and has placed this rulemaking among the Agency’s high priority rules.”

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