OOIDA to Congress: Oppose ‘poison pill’ amendment on insurance minimums

June 16, 2020

Greg Grisolano

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is warning lawmakers ahead of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s planned markup of a proposed new highway bill, to vote down a “poison pill” amendment that would increase the minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers to $2 million.

The insurance minimums amendment is an updated version of a standalone bill introduced in 2019 by Reps. Chuy Garcia, D-Ill., and Matthew Cartwright, D-Pa., which would have raised the mandatory minimum insurance requirement on motor carriers from $750,000 to $2 million.

“OOIDA vehemently opposes Garcia Amendment 062, which would more than double the minimum level of financial responsibility for trucking companies, including many small businesses,” Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs, wrote in a letter to committee members on Tuesday.

“Passage of the amendment would be a poison pill for OOIDA and our members, forcing us to vigorously oppose a bill we otherwise support,” the Association’s letter states. “We urge all members of the committee to reject this unnecessary and punitive proposal.”

Federal research indicates only 0.06% of crashes result in damages that exceed today’s minimum coverage limits, Long wrote in his letter. He also said research shows raising the amount of insurance truckers must carry provides no tangible benefit to highway safety.

“There is not an ounce of reputable research that indicates imposing such a dramatic increase in insurance coverage would do anything to reduce crash rates,” he said. “What this proposal will do is destroy small trucking businesses in every corner of the country.

“Increasing the minimum insurance requirements from $750,000 to $2 million in the midst of a major economic downturn would be nothing short of disastrous for many small motor carriers and owner-operators, who are currently struggling to stay in business due to historically low freight rates,” Long’s letter stated.

Dubbed The Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act, the proposed new highway bill would authorize nearly $500 billion over five years to tackle the nation’s infrastructure needs.

Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.