Coalition amps up pressure to stop any increase to minimum insurance

July 21, 2021

Land Line Staff

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Any increase to the minimum insurance requirement on motor carriers is “wholly unnecessary, would do nothing to improve highway safety, needlessly jeopardize countless blue collar jobs, destroy many small and family-owned businesses, and threaten necessary bipartisan support for any legislation that includes it.”

That was the message delivered to every member of the Senate in a letter on Tuesday from a coalition of 60 groups and organizations led by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

The letters were the latest in a concerted effort by the diverse coalition to prevent the addition of legislative language that would mandate an increase to insurance minimum to a Senate highway bill.

“It’s important to remember increasing motor carriers’ minimum liability requirements would affect all businesses transporting property, not just long-haul trucking operations. As illustrated by the diversity of our coalition, the impact would be felt in many sectors of the economy that have been working to help our nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, including the agriculture, construction, manufacturing, towing, and materials industries. Raising insurance minimums for countless businesses engaged in trucking would undoubtedly cause many to shutter, leading to the loss of American jobs at the worst time possible,” the coalition’s letter states. “This policy clearly does not belong in legislation that is designed to rebuild our infrastructure and encourage economic growth.”

The letters point to the financial motivation behind any proposal to increase insurance minimums and a lack of improving safety on the roads.

The group bolstered its position by citing an FMCSA-commissioned report from the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center that said a “vast majority of CMV-caused crashes have relatively small cost consequences, and the costs are easily covered with the limits of mandatory liability insurance.”

“What studies haven’t shown is any improvement to safety associated with increasing insurance requirements. Proposals to raise minimum liability coverage are nothing more than an opportunity for trial lawyers to receive higher payouts from settlements and decisions at the expense of American businesses,” the coalition letter states. “If this policy were to become law, we are concerned it would encourage more and increasingly costly lawsuits against our members for crashes in which they are most often not responsible.” LL

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