The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has withdrawn a plan to propose raising the minimum levels of liability insurance that truckers must carry to $4 million from $750,000, saying it lacked sufficient information to justify further action.
The FMCSA's decision, disclosed today, leaves the required minimum coverage for bodily injury and property damage at the same levels they've been since January 1985.
The agency, which first broadcast its plans in November 2014, wanted to know if the minimum levels should be raised and, if so, to what degree. It said the response rate was relatively split between those who favored an increase and those who didn't. However, neither side provided enough evidence to support its views, thus making it impossible for the agency to move forward, FMCSA said.
Small truck fleets and owner-operators, which make up the vast majority of the nation's commercial truck driver population, objected to an increase of that magnitude, warning that it would put many small truckers out of business. Most owner-operators carry $1 million of liability coverage, according to the trade group Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
OOIDA said the measure would have imposed a major financial hardship on small truckers and done nothing to improve highway safety. More than 99 percent of crash-related damages end up being covered within the current financial requirements, it said. Supporters of raising the minimum threshold said it has not kept up with the rate of inflation, especially in the area of health care costs.
In a statement, Mike Matousek, OOIDA's director of government affairs, said the FMCSA's action is unusual because the agency typically leaves a docket open once a proposal is no longer being advanced.