In June of this year, Illinois Rep. Chuy Garcia introduced an amendment to the Moving Forward Act that would increase the minimum insurance requirements for commercial motor carriers from $750,000 to $2 million.
Supporters say the increase is overdue and necessary to keep pace with inflation and properly support those who have been catastrophically injured in semi-truck accidents, or the families of those who have been killed by negligent truck drivers. With the current minimum requirement, at times the people whose lives have been upended forever find themselves unable to recover the full extent of their damages because of insufficient insurance coverage.
Opponents of the increase are likely correct: premiums would rise somewhat with an increase in minimum insurance coverage. But what the increase would mean for drivers all across the country is that victims of the most serious and deadly truck crashes would be compensated fairly.
The first minimum insurance requirements were put in place in 1980 during the Regan administration. Adjusting for inflation, $750,000 in 1980 is equivalent to $2.37 million in 2020. Simply put, it has been 40 years since the minimum insurance requirement for trucking companies was established, and $750,000 just does not go as far today as it did in 1980.
Taking into account not only inflation but also the rising cost of healthcare, if a truck driver’s negligent driving causes a crash that leaves a married father of three children paralyzed, unable to work, and in need of round-the-clock medical care, $750,000 will only make a dent in his damages.
If the trucking company in this situation only carried the current minimum amount of insurance, the victim’s family would be devastated not only from the emotional and physical aspects of the crash, but financially as well.
We support the increase and look forward to the Senate’s vote, because we know how far this overdue increase in the minimum insurance requirement would go toward
helping those impacted by the worst crashes and injuries that occur on our roads.