TRALA Urges Congress to Prevent Flawed FMCSA Insurance Rule
The Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA), along with several of its allies, is urging Congress to prevent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from advancing any rulemaking to increase federally-mandated insurance minimums that currently apply to certain kinds of carriers, or to apply these standards to private motor carriers for the first time. TRALA and 35 other organizations wrote a letter that was sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) which urged the Subcommittee's leaders to include language in the spending bill that would explicitly prevent the FMCSA from spending any funds to advance this rulemaking.
Following receipt of the letter, and after subsequent meetings between Congressional staff and industry representatives, the Subcommittee included the language recommended by the coalition. The spending bill will now move from the Subcommittee and will be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee during the week of May 11, 2015.
TRALA believes that FMCSA should be prevented from advancing the insurance rulemaking for several reasons which are outlined in the letter sent to Congress. These include the fact that FMCSA's own data shows that current requirements are sufficient to cover costs in 99% of all incidents; the increases being considered will significantly increase premiums and strain the insurance market in terms of availability of insurance coverage; and, simply forcing carriers to purchase more expensive insurance does not demonstrate improved highway safety.
In addition to those reasons, TRALA is also opposed to any move by FMCSA to issue a "one size fits all" insurance mandate that applies to private carriers because of the unique situation its members face. Almost all TRALA members are registered as private motor carriers, per FMCSA's "recommendation." Many TRALA members were once registered as "registrant-only" with FMCSA, meaning that they owned but did not operate their vehicles. FMCSA eliminated the registrant-only option because some rogue carriers were using it to avoid compliance enforcement, despite the fact that TRALA members were responsibly using the registrant-only option for its true purpose.
Since almost all TRALA members are now registered as private motor carriers and most of their customers are private motor carriers as well, applying a new federal standard to private motor carriers would result in unnecessary duplicative insurance coverage for trucks rented and leased by TRALA members to their customers.
TRALA is continuing to gather support in Congress to prevent FMCSA from advancing a flawed rulemaking, as well as continuing to educate FMCSA on the unique situation faced by TRALA members.