Congressman García Reintroduces Truck Safety Measure to Make Roads Safer
Washington D.C. — Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, reintroduced the INSURANCE Act to ensure minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers are periodically adjusted to the inflation rate of medical costs. Minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers were established in 1980 and have never been adjusted for inflation. A version of the INSURANCE Act passed as an amendment to H.R. 322, the INVEST Act, by a vote of 37-27 in the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee in 2020 and was included in the House-passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act last year. The legislation is supported by the Truck Safety Coalition, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), Institute for Safer Trucking, the American Association for Justice, and Road Safe America.
“Families should not be saddled with long term-financial debt after dealing with the devastating injury or loss of a loved one. Still, thousands of families suffer in silence, burdened with insurmountable medical care costs after falling victim to catastrophic crashes with trucks,” said Rep. García. “The INSURANCE Act will reduce these undue burdens by increasing the minimum insurance requirement for trucks, which has gone unchanged for over 40 years.”
“I lost my parents in a truck crash that left me and my two sisters seriously injured. If our crash had involved a motor carrier that had only $750,000 in insurance, we would have been financially devastated,” said Peter Malarczyk, a board member of the Institute for Safer Trucking. “Thank you to Congressman García and my U.S. Representative, Mondaire Jones, for leading on the important issue and helping families who have lost loved ones or survived a truck crash.”
“I am grateful to Rep. García and the other co-sponsors of the INSURANCE Act,” said Kate Brown, a volunteer with the Institute for Safer Trucking. “Before my son, Graham, was severely injured and left permanently, partially-disabled by an impaired, fatigued truck driver who swerved into his lane, I had never thought about the minimum insurance required for trucks operating in interstate commerce. After Graham’s surgeries and hospital stays and physical therapies, it’s something I’ve had to think about nearly every day since. The INSURANCE Act will help ensure that other truck crash survivors and their families don’t need to experience financial strain in addition to their pain and suffering.”
“Despite bogus arguments by trucking industry opponents, this bill is about grieving families and not enriching lawyers,” said Joan Claybrook, co-founder of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), a major truck safety organization, and former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Increasing the minimum insurance requirement, set in 1980, is necessary and supported by studies including a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation. No family should have to suffer economic hardship caused by a truck crash and industry lobbying to retain an out-of-date and obsolete federal limit.”
“I strongly support enactment of this overdue and reasonable change,” Ms. Eileen Kosc, safe trucking advocate and crash survivor said. “Families like mine who have experienced the tragic loss or serious injury of a loved one in a truck crash endure unspeakable emotional pain. We should not also be faced with unbelievable medical bills.”
“It is high time that lawmakers address the reality that medical costs in 2021 are substantially higher than they were back in 1980, when the minimum levels of insurance were set, said Steve Owings, co-founder of Road Safe America. “Too many families, like mine, pay the ultimate price in truck crashes – losing loved ones. Increasing the insurance minimums will help prevent unsafe trucking companies from getting on our roads, which will help keep other families from having to endure what families like mine do every single day.”
The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-02), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), John Garamendi (CA-03), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47).
Please see a letter of support from the Truck Safety Coalition.