House clears bill amendment to stop FMCSA from raising carrier insurance minimums

| June 10, 2014

Continuing Congressional action of late to try to rein in some Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulatory activities, the U.S. House voted June 9 to add an amendment to its version of an annual DOT funding bill to stop the agency from increasing the minimum amount of liability insurance carriers must have.

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Bill in Senate would suspend hours rule’s restart provisions and require further study

A bill making its way through the Senate now includes an amendment to undo some provisions of the hours of service rule changes implemented in July 2013 for at least a year and require a study by the DOT.

FMCSA announced earlier this year its intentions to increase the current $750,000 minimum, saying it has not kept up with inflation since being set at that level in 1985. The Department of Transportation said in its most recent significant rulemakings report that the agency could publish a proposed rule as early as November to raise that amount.

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill provides funding for the DOT for the 2015 fiscal year. Both chambers of Congress have a version of the bill in the pipeline. The Senate version includes an amendment to suspend some of the 34-hour restart provisions of the 2013 hours of service rule, along with language that directs FMCSA to publish a final electronic logging device rule by January 2015 and to publish a proposed Safety Fitness Determination rule by December. Click here to read more on the Senate version. 

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Senate DOT appropriations bill would set e-log, CSA safety fitness determination deadlines

In addition to offering restart-changes relief pending further study, the bill requires an ELD final rule by January 2015 and SFD proposal by December of this year, in addition to an OIG audit of the compliance review program.

FMCSA said in a report issued earlier this year that if the $750,000 minimum liability insurance amount had kept up with the core consumer price index, a measure of inflation, it would be $1.62 million. If it had kept pace with the medical consumer price index, it would be $3.18 million.

Both the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations reject the agency’s claims that the current minimum needs changing, citing studies that show just 1 percent of all crashes exceed $750,000 in claims.

The amendment to halt the agency’s rulemaking came from Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.). If the House bill becomes law with the amendment included, it would “prohibit the use of funds to develop, issue or implement regulations that increase levels of minimum financial responsibility for transporting passengers or property as in effect Jan. 1, 2014.” 

Neither the House nor the Senate have passed their respective bills yet.

  • flatbeddan

    If our pay kept up with the core cunsumer price index or the medical price index, how much would we be making? I’ve been in this industry for over 35 years, I’ve been driving for more than 26. I haven’t seen our pay keep up with cost of doing business.

  • Ancient Squirrel

    Drivers starting these days make far less than what you made when you first started 35 years ago. Many people don’t realize it because it looks like more money and very few have done the inflationary calculation. Here’s a rough idea. Drivers that started 30 plus years ago at $0.05/mile with an average inflationary increase of 3% per year over 35 years would currently make $2.27/mile. With a modest 1500 mile week that would be $3412.50 weekly or $177,450 gross annual income.

  • RW

    How did you come to that math? Using a compound interest/percentage calculator over 35 years I came to $0.14/mile.

    .05x.03=.0015
    .0515x.03=.001545
    .053045x.03=.00159135
    .05463635x.03=.00163909
    .05627544x.03=.00168826
    after 5 years its .058
    Doing this another 30 years will not get to 2.77.

    Use this simple calculator to compound .05/mile at 3% compounding over 35 years and you get $0.14/mile
    http://www.thecalculatorsite.com/finance/calculators/compoundinterestcalculator.php

    Please tell me if I missed something…

  • Ancient Squirrel

    You’re right. I found the flaw in my math. My point with my badly executed math was that your pay would be significantly higher now had the increases kept pace with the price hikes of everything else. Wages have not kept up with price increases. I was attempting to agree with you.

  • guest

    If even WALMART is running OUTLAW drivers…..these more lenient
    ammendments are a bit Crazy……maybe no laws is better…and No insurance……

  • guest

    They are driving Skilled veteran drivers out of trucking and replacing them with this Walmart maniac….part of the problem.

  • Gaty

    You have no idea what you’re talking about! Whatever your feelings are towards Wal-Mart they have one of the best safety records in the industry. This guy wasn’t a cowboy and is now speaking out about being reported as being up for 24hrs. There is no way a company with a .5 in Hours of Service and 0.2 in OOS per inspection would allow or permit a driver to run illegally.

    This is all being reported by the FMCSA who just lost a few big battles, one being the 34hr restart which they are now using this event to try and make their point on fatigued driving. We’ll all find out soon enough that this was not Walmart doing and for what ever reason the driver was distracted which caused the accident.

  • pat

    Instead of inflating minimum insurance liabilities to match inflation, how about inflating the pay for us drivers!? Wages are stale.

  • Jacq63

    You know nothing about trucking or how difficult it is tp run a company, do not need the Government in our lives, Insurance yes, Government no. The less government the better. Put Drivers and company owners on the Board, they will do whats right, no driver wants to hurt anyone. The Shippers need to have some responsiblity. They take there sweet time and dont care how they hurt the driver on hours. ELDs would be ok if the shippers have rules too.

  • Sam

    Look at the end of the day companies nor the government can make a person sleep. Its the responsibility of the driver to know his limits and rest. The problem in my opinion is some of the changes have affected our pay and made the industry less appealing to work in. What will happen when there are not enough drivers to meet the demands made by consumers nobody is talking about how that will affect our economy.