Raising insurance minimum requirements for interstate trucking companies would make highways less safe and harm small-business truckers unnecessarily, according to public comments submitted recently by professional truck drivers and owners of small-business trucking companies.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had sought comments to an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for financial responsibility requirements for freight and passenger carriers.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) contends in its own comments that the amount of insurance carried by motor carriers has never been shown to have a correlation with safety. The association also highlighted the legislative and regulatory history of insurance requirements, showing that Congress and the Department of Transportation intended that any requirements be responsive to a broad range of economic considerations.
Those considerations included the health of the motor carrier industry, the needs of both large and small motor carriers and the ability of the insurance industry to provide adequate coverage at reasonable prices.
“The agency’s decision to move forward with this rulemaking not only flies in the face of these comments, but also the data on crash costs analyzed by the agency, which shows that more than 99 percent of truck-involved crashes are covered in the current requirements,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice president.
Responding to the FMCSA’s call for comments, many truck drivers wrote about their many years and many miles of safe driving with no preventable accidents. They also said that raising the minimum could possibly put them out of business.
“Higher minimums will only increase the push for higher settlements no matter the real cost of the accident or the fault for the trucker,” said Spencer. “And, we are also concerned they would discourage motor carriers from increasing driver pay, which is needed to attract and retain the safest drivers.”