OOIDA coalition supports amendment to strike minimum insurance hike

June 29, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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OOIDA isn’t the only group supporting an amendment to remove a provision to increase the minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers from the highway bill.

A coalition of more than 50 organizations, including OOIDA, the American Dairy Coalition, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the United Fresh Produce Association, and numerous state trucking groups, requested the leaders of the House Rules Committee adopt the amendment. The coalition letter was sent Monday, June 29.

Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., proposed Amendment 194 to strike Section 4408 of HR2, which would increase minimum insurance levels from $750,000 to $2 million. The organizations said the increase would be devastating to small businesses.

“This 167% increase would apply to all businesses transporting property, not just long-haul trucking operations,” the coalition letter stated. “Its impact would be felt in many sectors of our economy that are currently working to help our nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, including trucking, agriculture and the materials industries. More than doubling insurance rates for businesses engaged in trucking in the midst of an economic downturn will undoubtedly lead to the loss of even more jobs.

“Section 4408 does not belong in legislation that is designed to support economic recovery and encourage growth.”

The coalition pointed to a report from the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center that said the minimum insurance level adequately covers damage in all but 0.06% of crashes.

“What studies haven’t shown is any improvement to safety associated with increasing insurance requirements,” the coalition said. “There is no reputable research indicating policies like Section 4408 will help reduce crash rates. Section 4408 is nothing more than an opportunity for its most ardent supporters – trial lawyers – to receive higher payouts from settlements at the expense of American businesses.”

OOIDA refers to Section 4408 as the “poison pill” that led the Association to withdraw its support. The Association said amendment proposed by Rep. Chuy Garcia, D-Ill., during a House markup hearing earlier this month would actually decrease highway safety by forcing many of the safest and most experienced truckers out of business.

“Rep. Bost’s amendment to strike Section 4408 would protect American jobs and businesses, including countless small businesses, from an unnecessary and excessive policy designed to further line the pockets of trial lawyers at the expense of truckers, farmers, and manufacturers,” the coalition wrote.

As of the afternoon on Monday, June 29, the House Rules Committee had not addressed Bost’s amendment proposal. The committee will determine which amendments will be voted on by the House later this week. The highway bill was rolled into the massive Moving Forward Act.

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.