A bill that would require truckers to carry more liability insurance is currently being considered by Congress. The Safe Haul Act of 2013, H.R. 2730, would amend Title 49 of the United States Code to increase the minimum insurance levels that motor carriers must purchase by almost $4 million. The bill would also increase the mandatory insurance minimum each year based on the current cost of medical care. The bill was introduced by Representative Matt Cartwright and is now being reviewed by the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
The current motor carrier mandatory minimum insurance level of $750,000 was set more than 30 years ago. According to Representative Cartwright, that number should be closer to $4.4 million when inflation is factored in. Cartwright stated he introduced the bill because he feels the current mandatory minimum insurance levels are insufficient to adequately promote public safety and deter more truck accidents. He added that increased liability insurance minimums are necessary to ensure that big rig and other motor carrier accident victims are sufficiently compensated for their injuries.
Despite that more than 100,000 individuals died in an accident with a commercial vehicle across the U.S. since 1980, the American Trucking Association (ATA) is reportedly lobbying against the proposed measure. A spokesperson for the ATA, Sean McNally, stated there was no data to support the proposed increase in commercial vehicle insurance minimums. In addition, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association reportedly criticized the proposed measure by stating it would only serve to increase motor carrier costs.
Data recently compiled by a coalition of motor carriers, the Trucking Alliance, reportedly found that approximately 42 percent of settlements paid by members between 2005 and 2011 exceeded $750,000. That is significant because a trucking company that fails to carry sufficient liability insurance must pay any additional funds out-of-pocket or file for bankruptcy protection.
Federal trucking regulations are designed to protect both drivers and passengers travelling on the many roadways in the State of New Mexico and nationwide. Tragic big rig crashes may be caused by a variety of factors including trucker negligence. Those who were hurt by a careless tractor-trailer driver in our state may be entitled to file a damages claim for their medical costs, any disability that resulted from the collision, lost wages and benefits, and pain and suffering. Additionally, certain relatives of someone who was killed in an accident that was caused by a trucker may also be eligible to recover for their loved one’s funeral expenses and other damages. If you were injured in a collision with a semi-truck, you are advised to contact a quality truck accident attorney to discuss your options for recovery.
Do not hesitate to contact the Fine Law Firm if you were hurt or a close family member died in a New Mexico tractor-trailer crash. Our hardworking Albuquerque truck accident lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience helping 18-wheeler accident victims across the state recover the financial compensation they deserve based on the severity of their harm. To schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with a caring advocate, please call the Fine Law Firm at (505) 889-3463 or contact us through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Researchers Claim Combination of Technologies in Truck Cabs May Increase Semi Safety in New Mexico and Nationwide, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2013
Sleep Apnea Legislation Could Affect Roadway Safety in New Mexico and Nationwide, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, October 2, 2013
Are motor carriers– under federal law– under-insured?, by David Cullen, Fleet Owner