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June 5, 2015 2:00 PM, EDT

House Rejects Insurance-Requirement Proposal

Rep. Matt Cartwright

Lawmakers rejected an amendment targeting insurance requirements during the House’s consideration of the fiscal 2016 transportation funding bill June 4.

The amendment was offered by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), and it called for removing a provision in the funding bill that would block the U.S. Department of Transportation from issuing a rule intended to increase insurance requirements for motor carriers, such as truckers.

It was not adopted by a vote of 247-176. Nine members did not vote.

Speaking on the House floor in opposition to the amendment, Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) said: “Safety is important. We all know that. We all want to make sure that our roadways are safe. But the Department of Transportation readily admits that raising the cost does not necessarily improve safety. The DOT's own study expresses a crippling revelation to proponents of a cost increase on our job creators. There may be more effective ways that reduce crashes at a lower cost.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association also opposed the amendment, saying it would have allowed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to arbitrarily raise financial requirements for commercial motor carriers.

“Congress never intended financial requirements to be tied to increases in medical inflation or to cover the worst-case crashes, and the legislative and regulatory history on that is clear,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer in a statement. “In a worst-case crash, FMCSA’s own report admits that there is no requirement high enough to cover all damages.  But there may be other ways to address covering the damage costs of catastrophic and worst-case crashes.”