Recently, Representative Corry Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, introduced a new bill into the U.S. Senate which could have a broad effect on trucking regulations and safety nationwide.
According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, the bill would require motor carriers to hold 1.5 million dollars in liability insurance instead of the 750,000 dollar minimum. The bill also proposes that employers pay truckers for all hours worked, instead of using a per-mile pay model.
Potentially counteracting Sen. Booker’s bill, named The Truck Safety Act, is the House’s Department of Transportation Funding Bill for the fiscal year 2016 which would bar the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from raising the required insurance minimum for motor carriers.
While some automatically disagree with the provisions found inside the Truck Safety Act, motivation for raising the liability requirement could be in response to another bill proposed by U.S. Sen. Deb Fisher, a Republican from Nebraska, which would allow drivers under the age of 21 to obtain CDL’s. Typically, male drivers between the ages of 20-24 have one of the highest crash rates, only surpassed by male drivers over the age of 85.
Additionally, paying truckers by the hour could potentially combat trucker fatigue. Currently, truckers are required to take an 8-hour break for every 10 hours of driving, which can result in 16 hours of driving within a 24-hour span of time. The new hourly system would hopefully discourage that practice, resulting in alert drivers and fewer collisions.
As these new bills are considered in the Congress, it still remains a priority for truckers to practice safe habits and obey the law. While we hope that new laws work to increase road safety, the attorneys at Turner & Sackett will continue to advocate for victims of trucking collisions, ensuring their needs are met.