Supporting Rep. Cartwright's Minimum Insurance Levels for Trucks
Last week U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania introduced the Safe and Fair Environment on Highways Achieved through Underwriting Levels Act (H.R. 2730) or “A Safe Haul.” The proposed bill from Rep. Cartwright aims to raise the required minimum insurance level for motor carriers, including trucks and coaches.
Too Low a Minimum Insurance Level
Back in 1980 -- more than 30 years ago -- Congress set the insurance minimum in 1980 at $750,000. This minimum requirement has not been raised in more than three decades! According to Rep. Cartwright, it takes more than $4.4 million in present dollars to provide for the equivalent of the $750,000 in the original law.
In a press release, Rep. Cartwright shared his thinking in introducing the legislation:
“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.”
As a member of the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group with the American Association for Justice, I was delighted with the support for raising the minimum insurance levels from the AAJ's president, Mary Alice McLarty:
"Outdated trucking insurance limits shift the burden of crash costs to injured motorists, taxpayers, medical insurance carriers, and Medicare. This legislation is long overdue."
The "Safe Haul" bill would increase the required minimum insurance level for motor carriers from $750,000 to $4,422,000. The bill would also tie the future insurance minimum requirement to the cost of medical care inflation.
Our Full Support
As truck accident lawyers, my colleagues and I see the damage unsafe truck drivers and trucking companies cause. We also know the cost of medical treatments and other expenses that stem from deadly truck wrecks. We whole-heartedly support Rep. Cartwright's proposed legislation and we shall be writing to our own representatives to encourage them to support the bill as well.
This sort of legislative approach is exactly the approach supported by APITLA. APITLA is the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America. As a member of APITLA's national advisory board, I am encouraged by this legislation and promise to work towards its passage.
Rep. Cartwright's original press release is online at the following link: http://cartwright.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/cartwright-introduces-legislation-to-keep-highways-safe-and-protect