Insurance Limits on Big Trucks
The report concludes that the minimum insurance requirements for commercial trucks are “completely inadequate to compensate those who have been seriously injured in a collision involving multiple vehicles or multiple injured individuals.” It should be noted that U.S. Congress set the minimum level of insurance to $750,000 in 1980. When adjusted for inflation, $750,000 is only $292,000 in 1980 dollars.
While large trucking companies may carry more than required level of cover-age, quite often smaller companies carry just the bare minimum. The analysis of U.S. trucking industry found that 87% of the companies in violation of safety standards are small companies that have fleets of ten trucks or less.
Many do not realize that hundreds of of deadly accidents involving unsafe trucks are never recorded as safety violations. A 2005 Government Account-ability Office (GAO) study found that nearly one-third of commercial motor vehicle crashes that states are required to report to the federal government were never recorded. Additionally, state crash reports were not always accurate. The analysis by the American Association for Justice follows a GOA study in July 2009 which found that more than 1,000 commercial trucking firms that were ordered out of service because of federal safety violations evaded compliance by operating under a different name, but often using the same owner, address and employees.
It is our opinion that Congress should increase the minimum insurance limits for commercial trucking companies to at least $5 million per incident.