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As agency studies, one group wants increased insurance requirements for carriers

| June 11, 2013

truck wreckAs the Trucking Alliance — a coalition of trucking fleets — is pushing for an increase to the federal insurance requirements of motor carriers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in the midst of a study required by the MAP-21 highway authorization bill passed last summer.

The agency is analyzing the possibility and adequacy of raising the requirement that’s been in place since 1980, which is $750,000.

The Trucking Alliance submitted 8,692 accident settlements from 2005 to 2011 to an actuarial firm for analysis. Only 1 percent of these settlements exceeded the $750,000 requirement, but per-occurrence average is what determines true risk, the Alliance said.

If all the study’s companies had maintained the minimum $750,000 requirement, 42 percent of monetary exposure from these settlements would have exceeded the carriers’ insurance coverage. “Conversely, 42 percent of the injury claims could have had no avenue for offsetting medical costs,” the Alliance wrote.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s Todd Spencer called the Trucking Alliance’s study “bogus,” saying the group “cherry picked data to make a claim that just isn’t so. Even the firm that compiled the report put the disclosure right in the heading,” he said.

“What the Trucking Alliance put together isn’t a study. It’s an x-rated fairly tale. Something you would expect to see on late night television interspersed between all the other claims for miracle products and personal injury lawyers,” Spencer said. “No one should take this bogus study seriously. In 98 to 99 percent of crashes involving trucks, claims are settled well below the $750,000 minimum. But even at that, most truckers have $1 million in coverage. All the Alliance will succeed in doing is increase costs for their competition in trucking and chum the water for personal injury lawyers.”

The American Trucking Associations is not convinced either. ATA spokesperson Sean McNally said if just 1 percent of settlements exceeds the current minimum, then the Alliance is chasing an “unstated goal.”

FMCSA, McNally added, has found time and again that the average cost of a crash involving a truck is “less than a third of the minimum limit required today.”

Members of the Trucking Alliance include J.B. Hunt, Schneider National, Knight Transportation, Maverick USA, Fikes Truck Line, Boyle Transportation and Dupre Transportation.

The group’s regulatory agenda includes supporting a mandatory electronic onboard recorder rule and putting speed limiters in trucks.


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  • EF McHenry

    More stuff to shake things up! These crooks never sleep! And they LOVE GOVT!!
    They love
    a)rules, b)regulations, c)codes, d)standards, e)policies, f)fees, e)licenses g)programs

  • Porter M. Corn

    Most of the carriers in the alliance are also self-insured. Anybody thought about that.

  • martymarsh

    Good point, but no matter how you look at it, it is their own interest they are looking out for, not what is good for the industry. But then I guess everyone does that, don’t they?

  • EF McHenry

    Yes, I did think about that! That’s why I said what I did. The only thing these ATA carriers what to do is get rules and policies passed to encumber the competition and shake up the industry as a whole. It doesn’t have anything to do with safety. And by the way, that’s not “free-market” either. You don’t try to use the force of govt in anyway to snuff out competition! Ann Ferro herself slips out the truth every now and then when she talks about a level playing field in her talks about EOBRs/ELDs

  • No Reform

    The companies mentioned crash so often they should be experts on the subject……and banned from using the highways to begin with…they run beat old junk trucks..look at their CSA scores on Vehicle Maintenance…always right up near the Threshold for intervention….their driver gets cited for junk equipment everytime they are inspected and gets 30-50 points stuck on HIS CSA File…while the Billionaire Mega fleet laughs it off…and forms another “alliance” to screw more people and get richer…….all a big joke…..

  • B Dubya

    The Trucking Alliance thinks they have come up with a way to put additional pressure on the small biz owner/operators to force them out of business.

    Mega-carriers are more of a problem than I’ll ever be.

    I propose we limit the fleet size of mega-carriers.

    50 trucks max. And, a separate physical address for each fleet of 50.

    Sure, the current mega-carriers that have 1000 trucks for example, could break up the fleet and comply, but they’d have to do all the paperwork, hire the staff, maintain 20 separate physical addresses to comply.

    Put the pressure back on them, I say.


    The industry should return to the ‘good ol days’ when freight rates were fixed, and it didn’t matter what name was on the truck. The freight rate was the same from point A to point B, and the little guy could compete with the mega-carriers. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.