OOIDA rallies members in opposition of minimum insurance increase

June 24, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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OOIDA is asking its members in certain districts to let their lawmakers know that an increase to minimum insurance requirements would be devastating to small-business truckers.

On Wednesday, June 24, OOIDA sent a Call to Action to its members who are represented by the following lawmakers:

  • Rep. Colin Allred (Texas-32).
  • Rep. Sharice Davids (Kansas-3.)
  • Rep. Abby Finkenauer (Iowa-1).
  • Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (Texas-7).
  • Rep. Conor Lamb (Pennsylvania-17).
  • Rep. Tom Malinowski (New Jersey-7).
  • Rep. Chris Pappas (New Hampshire-1).
  • Rep. Greg Stanton (Arizona-9).

Each of the aforementioned members of Congress voted during a committee markup hearing last week to add an amendment to highway bill to increase the minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers from $750,000 to $2 million. OOIDA has a significant amount of members in each of the respective districts.

The decision to add the “poison pill” provision to the highway bill, which has now been merged into the massive Moving Forward Act, led OOIDA to withdraw its support from the legislation.

OOIDA said the amendment proposed by Rep. Chuy Garcia, D-Ill., would decrease highway safety and force many small motor carriers out of business.

“While we firmly supported the bill when it was introduced, the addition of the Garcia amendment has left us no choice but to reverse our position,” OOIDA wrote in an email to members of the House T&I Committee. “We cannot support legislation that will cause many of our members to lose their businesses and livelihoods. An overnight increase in minimum financial responsibility of 167% will undoubtedly devastate many small trucking businesses. The 265,000 single-truck operators working in America today will be particularly at risk.”

OOIDA has long contended that increasing the minimum insurance requirement would mostly benefit trial lawyers and would actually decrease safety as it would remove some of the most experienced and safest truck drivers from the industry. The Association said only 0.06% of crashes result in damages that exceed the current $750,000 minimum.

Now, OOIDA is asking its members to share the message with their respective lawmakers.

“That’s right, when it was time to vote on an amendment that would increase your minimum financial levels to $2 million, (your lawmaker) chose trial lawyers over American truckers and voted yes,” OOIDA wrote in the targeted Call to Action.

“Because of (your lawmaker’s) vote, you could soon be paying much more in insurance so trial lawyers can pocket bigger payouts when they sue truckers.”

While OOIDA said it recognizes that the minimum insurance amendment is a long way away from becoming law, the Association believes it is important for truckers to let their lawmakers how crushing this provision could be to small-business truckers.

“OOIDA will continue fighting against this amendment throughout the legislative process,” the Association wrote. “Remember, it still must be cleared by the entire House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Thank you for your continued support of OOIDA.”

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.