Tuesday, June 10: Help us take action now to stop an anti-truck safety move

Petition Photo Bags at DOT, best

UPDATE at 7:30 p.m.: The Daines Amendment passed 214-212; next steps will be announced tomorrow hopefully.

We have some tentative good news. At least for right now, there are no amendments scheduled to be brought up in the House today to suspend the HOS restart provision or to permit 33 foot double trailers. The recent tragic crashes in California and New Jersey brought a lot of attention to truck safety issues, and along with your support, helped to push back these dangerous provisions……for now.

But, we need your help to stop an ANTI-TRUCK SAFETY move in Congress this morning—an attempt to block any increase in truck driver minimum insurance requirements (one of the requests in our Petition).

This morning, the House of Representatives will vote on amendments to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Bill Fiscal Year 2015. Congressman Daines (R-MT) is offering an anti-truck safety amendment to block any increase in minimum insurance requirements for truck carriers.

Voting starts at 1:30 (Eastern) this afternoon, June 10.

Every year on average 4,000 people die in truck crashes and 100,000 more are injured at a cost of at least $87 billion.

Crashes involving multiple deaths and injuries, similar to the recent tragic crashes in New Jersey and California, happen every week. The total combined damages from these crashes far exceed the current minimum insurance requirements.

The families who suffer terrible losses and injuries should not have to also bear the financial burden of these crashes.

TAKE action now:

 Please call your Congressman ASAP and Urge them to:

REJECT THE DAINES AMENDMENT WHICH WOULD BLOCK AN INCREASE TO MINIMUM INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS

To find your Representative and their contact information, please click http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

Talking Points:

We urge you to oppose the Daines amendment that would block an increase in minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers in the THUD bill (H.R. 4745) for fiscal year 2015.

Minimum Insurance Levels for Motor Carriers Need to be Increased:

  • Minimum levels of insurance for trucks, currently set at $750,000, have not been increased in over 30 years and are woefully insufficient.
  • Consequently a portion of the damages and losses caused by motor carriers who carry insurance at or near the minimum is imposed upon the American motoring public.
  • The underinsured segments of the industry are effectively subsidized by American taxpayers through unreimbursed social welfare programs including Medicaid and Social Security.
  • If all of the industry were required to absorb more of the losses they cause, significant changes in the industry would occur, resulting in safer highways for all.

FMCSA Report Supports an Increase in Minimum Financial Responsibility:

  • In April 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a report on its review of minimum financial responsibility that found current levels to be inadequate.
  • It found that costs for severe and critical injury crashes can easily exceed $1 million, that current limits do not adequately cover catastrophic crashes and acknowledged that medical care inflation would increase levels to at least $3.2 million.

Additional Reports Support Increasing Minimum Financial Responsibility:

  • Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) – This report found that the upper range for liability awards involving death or catastrophic injury is $9-10 million, and recommended that DOT set limits per crash of at least $10 million.
  • Trucking Alliance Review of Crash Settlements – Member companies of the Trucking Alliance voluntarily tracked 8,692 accident settlements between 2005 and 2011. According to the Trucking Alliance, 42 percent of the injury claims could have had no avenue for offsetting all medical costs.

The Daines amendment would inappropriately block a regulatory process that Congress directed.:

  •  Congress gave the DOT Secretary and FMCSA the authority to review the minimum insurance level, and the rule making process, including public comments, should be respected and followed.
  • MAP-21 directed the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to review minimum financial responsibility requirements for motor carriers. The Daines amendment would inappropriately block changes necessitated by this review.

The losses of lives and injuries in the recent tragic crashes in California and in New Jersey are just two examples of the potential for large damages in truck crashes.

The American public should not be forced to subsidize the damages in these crashes.

OPPOSE THE DAINES AMENDMENT

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