I am proud to have been selected by the American Association for Justice to address the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) yesterday, May 19, about the need to adjust the minimum federal trucking insurance limits to at least keep pace with the cost of inflation. The current financial minimums are $750,000 per collision, which was passed in 1980. Adjusting this number by the Medical Consumer Price Index (CPI) results in a present day value of $4,422,000.
This afternoon, May 20, the MCSAC voted to adopt my conclusions and recommend the FMCSA begin rulemaking to change the financial minimum responsibility limits to $4.422 million, with some phase-in period and with automatic adjustment to the medical CPI every four years.
Thanks to the MCSAC members for their work on this issue. As a result, I believe the roads will be safer. If ultimately adopted, I know that this regulation will make a difference to the thousands of people and their families who are catastrophically injured or killed in large truck crashes every year and whose medical bills and losses exceed the current minimums. This inflationary adjustment will help pay lost wages to a widow. It will allow for victims to pay for life care plans when there is brain damage or paralysis, instead of relying on Medicaid or other government programs to pay the tab.
In the coming months and years, I predict that we will see advanced notice of rulemaking on this issue from the FMCSA, with a public commentary period, then the rulemaking process along with public commentary period. While I’d like it to be sooner, I foresee phased-in inflationary-adjusted limits going into effect in 2017.