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Do truck drivers need to carry more insurance coverage?

If you've ever been involved in a car accident or know someone who has, you know how expensive a trip to the hospital can get. From the ambulance ride to medical treatments, everything adds up, oftentimes totaling tens of thousands of dollars for victims and their families. If injuries suffered in the accident are more severe, bills can get even higher as treatments continue months down the road.

Most people know that not all motor vehicle accidents result in injury; but if you're a regular visitor to our blog, you know that accidents involving trucks are oftentimes an exception to this rule. Because of their size and weight, collisions with these vehicles are almost always catastrophic, many times leaving the other vehicle a twisted mess and the driver incredibly injured.

It's because of this and the fact that medical costs are rising that the federal government is reconsidering the minimum insurance amount most truck drivers are currently required to carry, which is $750,000. Because the federal law hasn't been changed in 30 years, a debate has sparked between trial lawyers and those in the trucking industry, pitting one side against the other.

On one side of the debate you have truck drivers and trucking companies who do not want the government to even consider changing the threshold for insurance policies. That's because requiring more coverage would raise premiums for drivers, even those who have incredibly safe and accident-free driving records. This increase in cost would not only be hard on drivers but companies as well who would then need to pass the increase on to consumers.

The major concern is that this could financially ruin some operators within the trucking industry, forcing them out of business and out of jobs as well.

On the other hand though, there are the victims of truck accidents and those who fight for their right to compensation who say that the current threshold does not provide fair enough coverage for those injured in a crash. In some crashes, injuries can be catastrophic and may require extensive medical care. Bills in these cases may reach upwards of a $1 million, which are not completely covered by a $750,000 policy.

Wherever you stand on the issue, it's clear that the federal government will need to walk a fine line between maintaining the integrity of the trucking industry while ensuring fair compensation for crash victims.

Source: JOC Events, "Are you ready for trucking's new liability limits?" April 15, 2015

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