Trucking Accidents Cause FMCSA to Consider Raising Mandatory Coverage Levels


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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been studying the costs associated with trucking accidents, as well as those involving other commercial vehicles. The agency is a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is responsible for reducing the number of crashes involving large trucks and buses, and also works to improve safety guidelines. They're the ones who have set laws, which truckers have to follow regarding the number of hours they can drive, as well as inspection and maintenance guidelines, among other things. Right now, they're considering raising the minimum levels of financial responsibility motor carriers must hold, and they're seeking opinions from the public. Previous Guidelines In the past, the Motor Carrier Acts of 1935 and 1980, as well as the Bus Regulatory Reform Act of 1982, have dictated how much financial responsibility commercial vehicles have to carry. This usually refers to insurance, but it can also be in the form of a bond, or another financial security.These guidelines were set in place as a protective measure for the public and can be likened to the minimum amount of insurance coverage an average person must have, although that will vary by state. The current mandated guidelines for commercial vehicles are as follows:

  • For-hire interstate general freight carriers weighing less than 10,001 pounds- $300,000
  • For-hire interstate general freight carriers- $750,000
  • For-hire and private carriers of certain types of hazardous materials like oil- $1,000,000
  • For-hire and private carriers of other hazardous materials- $5 million dollars
  • For-hire passenger carriers which can hold 15 or fewer passengers- $1.5 million dollars
  • For-hire passenger carriers which can hold 16 or more passengers- $5 million dollars

Cost of Collisions During their probe, the FMCSA discovered that present coverage requirements were not enough, and they reported these findings to Congress. They noted that serious crashes, which resulted in severe or critical injuries, easily incur costs well over the present minimum standards of coverage and routinely exceed $1 million dollars. Moreover, the upper quarter of reparations awarded by courts for catastrophic or fatal collisions usually sits between $9-$10 million dollars. Clearly, if commercial vehicles are only carrying minimum coverage, it isn't enough to pay damages in either of these situations. This means that victims might not be able to receive funds that they need and are entitled to, which cover the costs of care as well as noneconomic damages. The full details of the proposals, as well as questions the agency has, can be found on the Federal Register website. Those who wish to submit comments and opinions before the government makes a final decision have until February 26, 2015 to do so. At this point, it appears that victims of Charleston trucking accidents, as well as those around the country, will have an extra layer of protection coming soon. However, the decision will not be made until the comment period closes, and all information is reviewed.

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If you have lost a loved one or have been injured in a collision involving a commercial vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. Our team is experienced in litigation and will work to ensure you receive a just settlement. Please use our online form or speak directly to one of our attorneys about your case by calling 1(800)610-2546.

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