Insurance premiums have not been increased since 1980
WASHINGTON D.C.–The FMCSA has just concluded its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), in which it gathers information. As part of this process, attorney Michael Leizerman submitted comments on behalf of AAJ’s Trucking Litigation Group.
Leizerman has been working on this issued for years, including appearing before the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) in May 2014, urging members to adjust the minimum federal trucking insurance limits so that they keep up with the cost of inflation.
The current minimum insurance requirement of $750,000 for most tractor trailers and large trucks on the road has not been adjusted for inflation since it was proposed nearly 35 years ago. Representing the American Association for Justice, Leizerman and other truck safety advocates want to see the minimum insurance requirement adjusted to $4,422,000.
“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,” stated Leizerman.
In 1980, when a person was killed in a large truck crash, $750,000 of insurance coverage would pay for 60 years of salary, using the national average wage index of an average salary of $12,513. Today, the same minimum limits will only pay for 16 years of salary to the family of the deceased, Leizerman reported.
“If ultimately adopted by the FMCSA, 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,” stated Leizerman.
According to Leizerman, the next step is for the FMCSA to consider the comments and decide whether to advance rulemaking, and if so, how much the proposed increase should be.
“It is our hope that FMCSA will look at the information before them and ultimately begin drafting new insurance rules for commercial drivers,” explained Leizerman.
Leizerman authored the nine-page document addressing why the higher limits are needed, citing real life examples of people who’ve suffered debilitating injuries at the hands of a commercial vehicle. The document was originally presented to FMCSA last week.
“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,” explained Leizerman. “While I’d like it to be sooner, I foresee phased-in inflationary-adjusted limits going into effect in 2017.”
To read Leizerman’s public comment submission on behalf of the Trucking Litigation Group in its entirety, click here.