FMCSA to Allow Formal Comments on New Proposed Insurance Minimums

The heated debate over raising the minimum liability insurance for commercial motor carriers will have another round, FMCSA announced this week. Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sent an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on raising the current insurance minimums to the White House for approval. 

This ANPRM, rather than a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, allows for public comments on the proposed insurance minimums prior to finalizing the proposed rule. After the agency takes into account the comments received during the 60-day public comment period for an ANPRM, the agency must still issue a final Notice of Proposed Rulemaking before issuing a final rule and allow for an additional 60 or 90 day comment period.

While the current minimums for $750,000 for general freight and $1 million for hazardous materials were last adjusted in 1985, industry advocates including the American Trucking Associations and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association point out that only a small fraction of accidents result in settlements about the current minimums. According to a report issued by the Department of Transportation as part of an examination of current minimums, only 74 crashes nationwide exceed the minimum liability each year.

A coalition of attorneys and safety advocates will push strongly for a significant increase in insurance minimums as a part of this rulemaking TIA staff will continue to monitor this process and work with members, industry, and the FMCSA to evaluate the merits and consequences of any proposal to increase insurance minimums.