In a bill passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will remain funded at current levels for rule-making activity surrounding the reassessment of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) minimum liability insurance required for commercial vehicle operators through September 2016.
The FMCSA is studying the financial and safety impacts of revising minimum levels of financial responsibility. Motor carriers are required to maintain certain levels of financial responsibility as a means to protect the public in the event of a crash. In a report to Congress last year, the agency found that the current minimum liability insurance required to be held by carriers is too low to adequately cover the costs for severe and critical injuries suffered in a catastrophic motor carrier crashes. The FMCSA reported that severe and critical injury crashes can easily exceed $1 million and that those insurance limits have not kept pace with increased medical costs and inflation.
According to the NHTSA, in 2013 there were 3,964 people killed and an estimated 95,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks. In the U.S., an estimated 342,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported traffic crashes during 2013. 72% of those killed in large truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles.
The FMCSA reported that in 2013, there were more than 11 million large trucks and buses registered in the United States. Truck traffic continues to be on the increase on highways and interstates throughout the country.
When a truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the results can be devastating. A large truck or tractor-trailer can weigh more than 80,000 pounds, resulting in catastrophic injuries for passenger vehicle occupants involved in truck crashes. Trucks can also cause serious property damage, resulting in huge financial losses for property owners.
In an article published earlier this year called “The Trucks Are Killing Us”, the New York Times reported that if past trends continue, more people will be killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks this year than have died in all the domestic airline crashes over the past 45 years. The Times reported that the death toll in crashes involving a large truck rose 17% from 2009 to 2013.
For the safety of all Americans on the road, we encourage the FMCSA to implement regulations increasing the minimum liability insurance held by commercial motor vehicle operators and do so in a timely manner.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, the truck accident lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli in Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton can help. Contact a Philadelphia injury lawyer at 215-575-9237 or a Wilkes-Barre injury lawyer at 570-714-HURT.
With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.