OOIDA asks members to help in fight against insurance hike

August 19, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.

 

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is asking its members to reach out to their U.S. senators and encourage them to sign a letter that opposes increasing insurance rates for small-business truckers.

Recently, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., circulated a letter for his colleagues to sign that opposes any such hike.

On Wednesday, Aug. 19, OOIDA began asking members in targeted states to ask their respective senators to join the cause.

The effort was prompted by an amendment to a Democratic-led highway bill that would increase the minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers from $750,000 to $2 million. While that bill was dead upon arrival to the Republican-led Senate, OOIDA remains diligent in its fight to ensure that small trucking companies aren’t forced out of business because of a dramatic rate increase.

“OOIDA is encouraging other senators to sign the letter, and we need your help,” the Association wrote to members. “Contact your senators today and ask them to sign the Daines letter. Tell them that more than doubling minimum insurance levels to $2 million will kill blue-collar jobs. Remind them that this increase is wholly unnecessary, would do nothing to improve highway safety, and would significantly increase operating costs for independent truckers.”

For years, OOIDA has pointed out that there is no correlation between insurance coverage and highway safety and that drastically increasing the insurance minimum would likely force many small motor carriers out of business. Doing so, the Association said the amendment would actually decrease safety as it would remove some of the most experienced and safest truck drivers from the industry. An increase of 167% during a time that many small trucking companies were fighting to stay afloat made the proposal even less palatable.

“This amendment will do absolutely nothing to improve safety on our highways,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said. “What this proposal will do is destroy small trucking businesses in every corner of the country.”

OOIDA isn’t the only organization against the increase.

A coalition of 62 organizations, including OOIDA, sent a letter to the leaders of a Senate Committee in July to discourage them from including any increases to motor carriers’ minimum insurance requirement in the next surface transportation reauthorization bill.

“Increasing minimum liability coverage would affect all businesses transporting property, not just long-haul trucking operations,” the OOIDA-led coalition letter stated. “As illustrated by the diversity of our coalition, the impact would be felt in many sectors of the economy that are currently working to help our nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, including trucking, agriculture and the materials industries.”

To find your senators’ contact information, go to OOIDA’s Fighting for Truckers website and enter your ZIP code. You also can call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

 

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.