Congress again eyes massive trucking insurance hike

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024:

Bill intro’d, again, to hike trucking insurance minimums

In what has become something of a ritual in Congress, a bill has been introduced that would, if passed and signed into law, increase the minimum liability insurance requirements for interstate motor carriers from $750,000 to $5 million.

Reps. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Illinois) and Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) introduced the “Fair Compensation for Truck Crash Victims Act” on Dec. 22. Garcia has previously authored the “Improving National Safety by Updating the Required Amount of Insurance Needed by Commercial Motor Vehicles per Event (INSURANCE) Act.”

Like previous attempts to increase insurance minimums for truck owners, the new legislation also ties the minimums to inflation to keep pace “with the rising cost of healthcare and other expenses,” a press release from Garcia said.

The bill would require the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to adjust the liability insurance minimum every five years for inflation relating to medical care.

“For too long, truck crash victims and their families have been burdened by tremendous emotional and financial consequences, facing a mountain of medical debt and shattered lives,” Garcia said. “The Fair Compensation for Truck Crash Victims Act is about justice, responsibility, and protecting our communities. It's time to ensure that trucking companies have adequate insurance to cover the true cost of their actions and prevent families from being financially destroyed by crashes they had no control over.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Jared Huffman (D-California), John Garamendi (D-California), Adriano Espaillat (D-New York), and Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee).

Previous attempts to increase insurance minimums have stalled before reaching the full House floor for a vote.

[Related: Bill to tie insurance minimum to medical-cost inflation reintroduced]

GoFundMe started for family of truck driver killed at Tenn. truck stop

The mother of truck driver David White, who was shot and killed at a Nashville-area truck stop on Sunday, has started a GoFundMe to help get White home to North Carolina.

“My son David White was shot and killed in his truck,” Rosemary White said on the GoFundMe page. “Parked at a truck stop trying to eat a bite of food. Trying to work for a living. He was killed in Tennessee and needs to get back to North Carolina. Any help would be appreciated. He loved his family, and others. He wanted to set a good example for others. He loved God and wanted to live for Him. We loved Him but God loved him best.”

According to Nashville police, White was found in his truck parked on Lucas Lane, adjacent to the Love’s Travel Stops location in East Nashville. Police asked "anyone with information about this case" to contact Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463. "Callers can remain anonymous and qualify for a $5k cash reward."

[Related: 'Senseless act of violence': Driver shot and killed at Nashville truck stop]

Love’s celebrates 60th anniversary

Love's Travel Stops on Jan. 8 celebrated 60 years of operations, marking a legacy of innovation, growth and community impact since its first store opened in Watonga, Oklahoma, in 1964, the company said.

"That year, Tom and Judy Love were looking for a way to support their growing family,” the Love family said in a press release. “So, they leased a filling station in Watonga and with Tom’s boots-on-the ground, community- and people-focused mentality he kept his entire career, that one store led to a nationally recognized brand.”

Love’s said it is the only major travel stop that is still family-owned and -operated and is now a national travel stop and convenience store network with 637 locations in 42 states and nearly 40,000 employees in North America and Europe. Its growing family of companies includes Musket Corp., Trillium Energy Solutions, Gemini and Speedco.

Tom Love was an innovator from the start, the company said, opening a combined convenience store and filling station at a time when that was practically unheard of. His innovative spirit is at the heart of every addition the company has had over the years – from expanding into travel stops, adding the Gemini Motor Transport fleet, and restaurant and fresh food options, to total truck care solutions, alternative fuels, and private label offerings, just to name a few.

“Tom Love said it best, ‘yesterday’s trophies don’t win tomorrow’s games,’ and even after six decades we still live by that motto, constantly innovating and improving,” said Shane Wharton, president of Love’s. “The secret formula behind the company’s success is our employees and how they model the core values Love’s was built on and sustain a legacy of driving for excellence.”

Love’s 60th anniversary celebrations will continue throughout the year.

ATA relaunches Women in Motion as council

The American Trucking Associations on Wednesday relaunched its Women in Motion program as an ATA Council.

ATA said the move will allow “for women across the trucking and transportation industry to join a dynamic and growing community focused on professional development and mentorship.”

“Since its inception, Women in Motion has been focused on promoting the role of women in the trucking industry,” said ATA COO Sarah Rajtik, co-chair of Women in Motion. “With this transition, we are hoping to capitalize on the work we’ve already done to reach a much larger group – creating more opportunities for women to connect and empower one another in order to make this great industry better for everyone.”

Members of WIM are eligible to receive a number of exclusive benefits, including:

  • Access to the WIM electronic yearbook
  • Quarterly newsletters with special articles written by WIM members, upcoming events and ways to get involved
  • Action alerts with legislative updates
  • Member pricing on products, courses, events and more
  • Priority placement when WIM Speakers’ Bureau speaker requests are submitted
  • Access to WIM networking events at ATA meetings
  • WIM ribbon at ATA events
  • Eligible for any WIM awards
  • Corporate members are listed on WIM website with link to company webpage
  • Corporate members received a special logo that they can use to identify themselves as affiliates

“By re-launching WIM as an ATA Council, we hope to create a community of like-minded women in this industry,” said Iowa Motor Truck Association President and CEO Brenda Neville, co-chair of Women in Motion. “I encourage any woman in this industry – from drivers to technicians and dispatchers to the C-suite – to come join us as we work to shape the future of this industry – breaking down barriers and paving the way for a new era of inclusivity and leadership in trucking.”