Thanks to inflation, the medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses incurred by the innocent victims of truck and 18-wheeler have continued to rise year after year. Yet because the minimum insurance limit for truckers has remained unchanged for decades, far too many crash victims are never fully compensated and find themselves thousands of dollars in debt through no fault of their own.
But change could finally be on the horizon, as the U.S. House of Representatives is considering legislation that would more than double the minimum insurance requirements for the drivers of 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, and other commercial vehicles.
Serious truck accidents can result in severe injuries and wrongful death. Our Truck Accident Lawyers have a successful record helping crash victims obtain the compensation they deserve, earning the Killino Firm nationwide recognition for the aggressive pursuit of justice on behalf of our clients and their families.
INVEST Act Would Increase Minimum Coverage Limit to $2 Million
The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) currently requires most commercial vehicles to carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance. But last Wednesday, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed an amendment to the INVEST in America highway bill that would raise the minimum coverage limit to $2 million. The legislation would also require the insurance minimum to be adjusted every five years for inflation.
The amendment cleared the Committee on a party-line vote, with all 37 Democratic members voting in favor of the proposal and all 27 Republicans voting no.
The proposal has drawn praise from the Institute for Safer Trucking, which noted that the current required minimum has been in place since the 1980s.
“This amendment will help families who have survived truck crashes and help make the trucking industry safer,” the group wrote in a Twitter post.
Legislation Would Also Delay Hours of Service Rule Revisions
The INVEST Act passed the Committee on another party-line vote last Thursday, following the adoption of 34 amendments proposed by Republicans and 23 proposed by Democrats. If the final bill makes it through both chambers of Congress and is signed by President Trump, the legislation will pump $500 billion into highway improvements and commercial vehicle safety initiatives over the next five years.
The final legislation includes several other items that would impact the trucking industry, including a provision to delay implementation of revised Hours of Service regulations set to go into effect this fall.
The Hours of Service regulations help keep fatigued truckers and other commercial drivers off the road by limiting how long they may remain behind the wheel without taking a break. The FMCSA proposed revising the regulations in 2018, following pleas from the trucking industry for more “flexibility.” But critics contend that the agency has effectively gutted the rules and warn that implementation of the new regulations will only lead to more fatigue-related truck and 18-wheeler crashes.
Other Trucking-Related INVEST Act Provisions
The INVEST Act also includes $250 million in grants to construct and improve truck parking, as well as increased funding to assist state efforts to improve truck and bus safety.
If the bill becomes law, the Department of Transportation would also have to finalize rule-making for mandatory automatic emergency braking systems in newly manufactured commercial vehicles. The legislation also calls for strengthening rear under-ride guard standards in new trailers and semi-trailers, as well as research into the feasibility, benefits, and costs of installing side under-ride guards.
While the INVEST Act should make it through the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives without much trouble, its prospects in the Republican-dominated Senate are far less clear.
Our Truck Accident Lawyers have extensive experience handling cases involving semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and other commercial vehicles. Our law firm has the resources and experience to take on the trucking company attorneys and win. If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-877-875- 2927.