Commercial Carrier Insurance Minimums Need to be Raised

The minimum liability-insurance-coverage amount for commercial truckers has not been raised in some thirty-five (35) years. The minimum-coverage amount currently stands at $750,000 – an amount set in 1980 that, according to the Trucking Alliance, is inadequate to cover 42% – nearing half – of all crashes.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (or FMCSA) – the regulatory agency over the commercial trucking industry — recently reported to Congress that, largely due to increased medical costs, the current minimum financial responsibility limits are inadequate to cover the costs of crashes involving severe injuries. Indeed, if the minimum coverage requirement was adjusted in accordance with medical-cost inflation over the past 3.5 decades, the minimum coverage number today would exceed $4 million – an amount that the American Association for Justice has endorsed as an appropriate minimum-coverage amount for commercial truckers.

Given the size and mass of commercial vehicles – especially the “big-rigs” or eighteen-wheeled tractor-trailers – when a truck hits a car, the injury-producing forces transferred to the car’s occupants are multiplied compared to the forces in a car-on-car crash. For that reason alone, a trucking accident is much more likely to cause extensive injuries and medical costs that can quickly exceed the current $750,000 minimum-coverage amount.

The commercial trucking industry opposes any increase in the minimum coverage amounts and has lobbied Congress to prevent any increase. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives bowed to trucking-industry pressure and enacted legislation to stop the FMCSA from raising the minimum-insurance-coverage amount.

Pope, McGlamry supports a much-needed increase in the minimum-insurance coverage for commercial vehicles and will continue to monitor this issue. Our lawyers have extensive experience in commercial trucking accidents. If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, call 877.285.765 today for a free consultation.