Trucking Job News Roundup, Part Two--July 24 2013

By: Classadrivers.com

This month, we take a look at efforts by OOIDA to increase training requirements for new truck drivers. Also, a bill has been proposed that would significantly increase insurance costs for trucking companies. Is this an attack on the trucking industry or something that’s long overdue? Take a few minutes to get updated then head over to our jobs section and get back on the road!

  • OOIDA Proposes New Safety Agenda
  • Bill Aims to Increase Carriers’ Minimum Insurance Coverage

OOIDA Proposes New Safety Agenda to Congress and FMCSA

OOIDA has made news recently with their proposal of the Safe, Mentored, and Responsibility Trained (SMART) future Truck Drivers Act. The act aims to study and improve the safety of new truck drivers by increasing and standardizing industry training requirements.

Their reasoning stems from a recent FMCSA report showing that 80 percent of all truck-involved collisions are due to human error. OOIDA believes that by providing new drivers with the proper hands-on experience and knowledge, safety within the industry will increase.

First and foremost OOIDA wants to implement classroom lessons as well as a lengthier behind-the-wheel training course. OOIDA currently feels that the system in place is flawed due to “on the job” training being different across the industry, as well as new drivers being trained by under qualified instructors.

“Improving the required driver training curriculum is a needed step to ensure that the new trucker becomes proficient in the safe and efficient operation of a tractor trailer while also understanding FMCSA regulations and other matters of importance to a trucker without the stress of meeting a delivery schedule or other influences that reduce focus on safety” stated OOIDA in a recent press release.

To avoid incompetent instructors passing on poor habits, SMART will set rigorous requirements and do thorough screening. A complete driving history of the instructor will be required, addressing details such as:

  • The driver’s career in trucking, including what carriers he or she has worked for, where they have operated, and how many years of experience and miles they have driven.
  • The driver’s violation record for the past five years.
  • A listing of any DOT-reportable accidents over the driver’s career
  • The letter of verification.

Did you feel adequately prepared when you first got on the road - or do you believe the industry can do a better job on increasing the safety and knowledge of new drivers? Let us know how you feel over on our message board!

Bill Aims to Massively Increase Carriers’ Minimum Insurance Coverage

A bill has been proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives that would raise the required insurance minimum for motor carriers to make them more motivated to implement safer operations and ensure “that victims receive the proper amount of compensation for their losses,” according to U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright who introduced the bill.

The Safe and Fair Environment on Highways Achieved through Underwriting Levels Act (H.R. 2730) or “A SAFE HAUL” would raise the insurance minimum from $750,000 to over $4 million and also tie future minimum insurance coverage requirements to the cost of medical care inflation.

Congress last set the minimum at $750,000 back in 1980 but due to rising medical costs and inflation this is no longer sufficient to fully cover the actual costs of the claim. According to a recent study conducted by the Trucking Alliance, 42% of cash settlements paid by carriers between 2005 and 2011 for crashes exceeded the current minimum insurance requirement.

"Outdated trucking insurance limits shift the burden of crash costs to injured motorists, taxpayers, medical insurance carriers, and Medicare.  This legislation is long overdue," said American Association for Justice President Mary Alice McLarty.

If passed, the bill to increase coverage will undoubtedly lead to higher insurance premiums for carriers and operators. What do you think of this bill? Let us know in the CAD message board.