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Arnold & Itkin LLP Truck Accident Blog2020AugustHow the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 Changed Truck Accident Claims

How the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 Changed Truck Accident Claims

Over 40 years ago, the trucking industry had a lot more regulations than it does today. Many argue that this resulted in higher prices of goods, financial barriers for truck drivers, and other complications. To reduce the troubles of the trucking industry, the government started to work on deregulating the industry. In 1980, the Motor Carrier Act (MCA) was signed into by President Carter.

While the debate is still ongoing regarding how much deregulation has lowered prices in the industry, one thing is certain: the MCA how truck accident claims are handled.

The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 & Truck Insurance Requirements

In addition to deregulation, the MCA placed specific requirements for insurance on trucks. Doing this helped to ensure that truck drivers and occupants of vehicles involved in accidents with them had the insurance coverage needed for the serious outcomes of many truck accidents. Coverage requirements are based on a truck’s weight and the type of material that it hauls.

Trucks are required to have the following coverage:

  • $300,000 for trucks that are under 10,001 pounds and haul non-hazardous materials
  • $750,000 in coverage for trucks that are over 10,001 pounds and that haul non-hazardous materials
  • $1,000,000 in coverage for contracted drivers and companies that haul oil
  • $5,000,000 in coverage for trucks that haul hazardous material that isn't oil

Notably, these are only baseline requirements. A truck company can require contracted drivers to carry more insurance than the law requires. Or, in many circumstances, truck drivers will elect to increase their coverage to make sure they have enough. Importantly, truck insurance minimums have not increased since the MCA was passed.

Are Truck Insurance Regulations Enough for Current Costs?

Today, some lawmakers are critical of the insurance minimums set by the MCA. They point out that the minimums have not increased to account for things such as inflation and the cost of modern medical care. Six years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created a report that confirmed these concerns. It found that, had the $750,000 coverage minimum for large trucks kept up with inflation, it would need to be about $1.62 million today.

Today, lawmakers are still trying to push through reforms that will increase the trucking insurance minimums that have been in place for decades. They argue that, instead of helping truck accident survivors, the MCA is now lagging behind and creating insurance minimums that don’t account for the true destruction and costs of serious collisions.

If you need help after a truck accident, call our team today at (888) 490-0442 for a free consultation. Our truck accident lawyers work to help clients recover the financial compensation they deserve after serious incidents.


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