Kentucky Enacts Law Protecting Truckers Against Liability

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) signed an anti-indemnification bill into law April 7, making the Bluegrass State the 41st state to protect truckers from having to assume all liability for accidents regardless of who is to blame.

Jamie Fiepke, president of the Kentucky Motor Transport Association, said the measure was passed without opposition in both chambers of the Legislature.

All of Kentucky’s neighbors except Ohio have passed anti-indemnification bills for truckers, Fiepke said.

“I think a lot of it [had] to do with just what the other states have been able to do,” he added. “I think they kind of laid the groundwork for us.”

The bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Ernie Harris, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said, “We felt it was important to join the rest of the country because if a trucker [hauls] somebody’s goods from A to B, any damage or any problems should rest with the person who caused it.”

The impending law gives Kentucky-based carriers “a level playing field” relative to carriers in other states and “provides that the guilty party assumes the responsibility,” Harris said.

States lacking liability protection for truckers are Arkansas, Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.

A bill is expected to be introduced in New Jersey this year and in Ohio next year, trucking leaders in those states said.