A recent study by the Alliance for Driver Safety and Security showed that 42 percent of dollar settlements paid by trucking companies to injured motorists are above the minimum insurance requirement of $750,000. The study, which tracked 8,692 settlements from 2005 to 2011, also showed carriers insured to $1 million faced liability exposure of 37.5 percent, while carriers with $4 million of insurance coverage only had exposures of 17.7 percent.
Under Congressional mandate, the Department of Transportation is reviewing the federal government’s $750,000 minimum insurance requirement, a figure that hasn’t been changed in more than 30 years. While the carriers that are part of the ADSS coalition certainly maintain higher insurance levels than the minimum requirement, many smaller trucking companies surely are operating at or near the minimum.
“The uninsured exposure is significant because a large percentage of the motor carrier population maintains insurance at or near the $750,000 minimum,” said Lane Kidd, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association who also serves as senior manager of ADSS. “This uninsured exposure means that trucking companies must pay out the additional dollars from within the business or in the worst case, file bankruptcy to avoid paying,” said Kidd. “These statistics clearly show that the current minimum insurance level creates too much exposure for the trucking industry and injured motorists.”