Truck insurance increase would hurt entire economy, coalition says

June 28, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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A coalition of more than 60 organizations, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, says that increasing minimum insurance for motor carriers by 167% would be a blow to the economy.

The OOIDA-led coalition sent a letter on Monday, June 28, to the House Rules Committee asking lawmakers to support an amendment that would remove an insurance increase from the House highway bill. The Truck Insurance Coalition includes organizations in the trucking, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, materials and towing industries.

“Increasing minimum liability coverage would harm all businesses transporting property, not just long-haul trucking operations,” the Truck Insurance Coalition wrote. “As illustrated by the diversity of our coalition, the impact would be felt in many sectors of the economy that have been working to help our nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic … This policy clearly does not belong in legislation that is designed to support economic recovery and encourage growth.”

The House highway bill, or the INVEST in America Act, includes a measure that would increase motor carriers’ minimum liability insurance from $750,000 to $2 million.

Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., is proposing an amendment that would strike the truck insurance increase from the bill.

Bost, who was raised in a trucking family, also offered the amendment during the House Transportation & Infrastructure markup hearing earlier this month. During debate, he offered passionate remarks about why the amendment was needed and called the increase a “punishment” to the nation’s truck drivers.

“Over the past year during the time of this pandemic, we’ve relied pretty hard on the working people who drive trucks across the nation,” Bost said. “These men and women continue their essential work by stocking store shelves and making sure food was put on everyone’s table, and (getting us) the supplies we needed while many of us were trapped in our homes. Now after praising these individuals for their great work, this legislation turns around and punishes them.”

Several other House Republicans spoke in favor of the amendment during the 30 minutes of debate. Regardless, the committee stuck mostly to party lines, rejecting Bost’s amendment by a recorded vote of 38-30.

The Truck Insurance Coalition wants the Rules Committee to move Bost’s amendment forward so it can be debated on the full House floor.

“If the House allows this policy to remain in the highway bill, it would jeopardize countless small and family-owned businesses, as well as blue collar jobs,” the coalition wrote. “We therefore ask that you make Rep. Bost’s amendment in order and allow all representatives to consider this issue on its own merits.”

The coalition notes that the current insurance minimum is adequate for more than 99% of cases and that there is no evidence that increasing the cost of insurance would have any positive effect on safety.

“There is no reputable research indicating an increase of any amount would help reduce crash rates,” the coalition wrote.

The coalition suggests that the House would need to remove the insurance provision from the bill for any chance of it being signed into law. While the Democratic majority in the House included an insurance increase in its bill, the Senate’s bipartisan version of the highway bill left an insurance increase out.

“Notably, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed its portion of the highway bill with a large bipartisan margin, and this bill did not include any changes to minimum insurance levels,” the coalition wrote. “In order to allow the House to pass a bill that can garner bipartisan support in the Senate, and ultimately be signed into law, we ask that Bost Amendment No. 220 be made in order so the House can strike this harmful provision from the INVEST in America Act.”

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet on Monday, June 28, and Tuesday, June 29.

Information about other trucking provisions the House Rules Committee will consider can be found here. LL

 

TBS

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.