New OOIDA-backed Colorado law ensures Occ-Acc coverage to independent truckers

May 9, 2018

Keith Goble

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A new law in Colorado ensures occupational accident insurance coverage is available to independent truckers in the state.

Colorado law has required independent commercial operators to have workers’ compensation or a private insurance policy that provides similar coverage.

Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed into law a bill to change “private insurance policy” to “occupational accident coverage insurance policy.” Previously SB178, the rule change also specifies the requirements for when such a policy may be considered as providing similar coverage.

The bill made it through both legislative chambers without a single vote in opposition. The new rule takes effect on Aug. 8.

The change applies to commercial vehicles with a gross-vehicle weight rating of at least 16,001 pounds and for hauling commerce on public highways.

During previous discussion at the statehouse, Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada, said the change is intended to clear up any confusion in state law over workers’ comp coverage for owner-operators.

“Senate Bill 178 does not remove a requirement for some form of coverage but provides a comparable and more affordable option that meets the original intent of the law while protecting the individuals,” Kraft-Tharp said.

The Colorado Motor Carriers Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association support the rule change. Of OOIDA’s more than 160,000 members nationwide, about 2,470 reside in Colorado.

OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Mike Matousek said the Association’s members prefer occupational accident coverage to workers’ compensation.

“It’s generally more affordable, provides unique benefits, and includes coverage for nonworking-related accidents,” Matousek said. “Conversely, workers’ compensation is often times too expensive and doesn’t reflect the needs of the person being covered.”

Matousek adds that trucking is an extremely diverse industry.

“One-size-fits-all seldom ever fits in trucking. Truckers need options, including options that determine what they’ll be covered for in the event of an accident.”

To view other legislative activities of interest for Colorado, click here.

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.