Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Would Increase Minimum Insurance Requirements for Truckers

Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), such as trucks and tractor-trailers, are an important part of commerce in the United States. According to the most recent available data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are approximately 5.7 million registered commercial motor vehicle drivers and over 10.2 million registered large trucks operating in the United States.

With such a high quantity of commercial vehicles on the roads, a significant number of auto accidents involving large trucks and tractor-trailers inevitably occur each year. Many of these accidents are catastrophic, with over 3,700 people killed in truck accidents annually, and tens of thousands more injured.

Unfortunately for victims of commercial vehicle accidents, huge numbers of U.S. trucks are underinsured. Under current federal law, tractor-trailers are allowed to operate with as little as $750,000 in liability insurance. For truck accident victims who suffer severe injuries, this amount of insurance is sometimes not even enough to cover the cost of their medical bills, let alone provide compensation for a lifetime of pain and suffering.

The $750,000 minimum liability insurance requirements for commercial motor vehicles has not changed in over 34 years. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently considering a rulemaking (Rule ID FMCSA-2014-0211-0001) to increase the minimum levels of financial responsibility for motor carriers, including liability coverage for bodily injury.

At Metzger Wickersham, we are in full support of increasing the minimum insurance requirements for trucks. An increase in liability insurance requirements is appropriate in order to account for years of inflation, and it also serves as a means to protect the public in the event of a crash.

As Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers who represent critically injured truck accident victims, we know first-hand that the current insurance limits do not adequately cover catastrophic crashes. Some of the more serious trucking accident cases we have handled highlight glaring examples of what happens when a trucking company has limited insurance coverage. Sadly, our paralyzed, disabled or otherwise severely injured clients, are left with little to no compensation because of their astronomical medical bills.

We firmly believe that something needs to be done in order to prevent future tragic situations, and we hope that others will also show support for adopting this new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation in order to wage the fight for civil justice and safer roadways.