I recently received a letter from United States Congressman Matt Cartwright that I thought I’d share with our clients who drive commercial tractor-trailers or buses. This is excellent news.
Barb Strady, Attorney at LawBarbara, I have some excellent progress to report from Washington. As you know, inadequate liability insurance for commercial carriers has for decades meant that there has been inadequate compensation and an undue burden on Social Security and Medicare in cases of catastrophic injury resulting from commercial vehicle crashes. On October 3, 2013, I wrote a letter to Anne Ferro, the head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, urging that the FMCSA take action to review the adequacy of the federally-mandated tractor-trailer liability insurance minimum limit. That limit has been $750,000 for the last 32 years. Joining me as co-signers on my letter were my good friends Bruce Braley (D-IA), John Lewis (D-GA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Robert Scott (D-VA), Robert Brady (D-PA), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), and Filemon Vela (D-TX). Today I am very happy to report that Ms. Ferro has responded. Last week, the FMCSA issued a 14-page Report to Congress, concluding the following: 1. Current limits are inadequate in covering catastrophic crashes. con’t. 2. Simply increasing existing limits to adjust for healthcare inflation would require raising limits: a. from $750,000 to $3,188,250 for general tractor-trailers b. from $1 million to $4,251,000 for low-hazard hazmat tractor-trailers c. from $5 million to $21,255,000 for high-hazard hazmat tractor-trailers d. from $1.5 million to $6,376,500 for small buses e. from $5 million to $21,255,000 for large buses. 3. “The Agency has formed a rulemaking team to further evaluate the appropriate level of financial responsibility for the motor carrier industry and has placed this rulemaking among the Agency’s high priority rules.” I wish to thank my fellow Congress Members for supporting me in this effort. I will continue to keep you posted. Sincerely, Rep. Matt Cartwright