The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it is considering a rule making that will increase the minimum levels of financial responsibility for motor carriers, including liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage, establishing financial responsibility requirements with passenger carrier brokers and to implement financial responsibility requirements for brokers and freight forwarders, as well as revising existing rules concerning self-insurance and trip insurance.  The FMCSA is seeking public comments on these topics.

The Federal Government has long required motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders to maintain certain levels of financial responsibility.  Presently, for-hire interstate general freight carriers are required to carry a minimum of $750,000.  This minimum level of financial responsibility was established in 1980 with the passage of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980.  That minimum level has not been increased over the past 34 years.

It is certainly time that companies that engage in interstate transportation be required to be insured for at least $10 million as was recommended by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and that the minimum level be indexed for inflation and productivity growth in the same manner that DOT indexes its value of statistical life for regulatory purposes.  There is no reason why companies that put tractor trailers on our highways should not be sufficiently insured to pay claims for damages they cause.

Click here for a link to the FMSCA notice.