The current mandatory insurance minimum for motor carriers is $750,000 per truck. Congress established the $750,000 required insurance minimum in 1980. 34 years ago! To say that the current mandatory minimum is woefully outdated is an understatement.
Approximately one year ago, Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-PA, introduced legislation that would raise the required insurance minimum for motor carriers from $750,000 to $4,422,000 per truck. According to Rep. Cartwright, in present dollars adjusted for the increase in the cost of medical care, it takes more than $4.4 million to provide for the equivalent of the $750,000 in the original law. In support of the bill, Rep. Cartwright has said, “This is a matter of public safety. Tragically, more than 100,000 people have been killed in commercial vehicle collisions since 1980. This legislation is essential to protecting our nation’s highways and ensuring that victims receive the proper amount of compensation for their losses.”
Unfortunately, Rep. Cartwright’s bill did not make it out of committee. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) took notice of Rep. Cartwright’s efforts and informed Congress that it was initiating rulemaking aimed at increasing the outdated limits. For decades, inadequate insurance minimums for commercial carriers has meant that there has been inadequate compensation, and an undue burden on Social Security and Medicare, in cases of catastrophic injury resulting from commercial vehicle crashes. In hopes, the limits will be increased in the near future, which will benefit the victims of these horrible crashes and the general public whose tax dollars are presently used to care for these victims.