Last week, in Colorado, a semi-truck crashed into 28 cars and trucks along Interstate 70 killing four people and leaving several others injured. The crashed was caused by a speeding truck driver, traveling at 85 mph when his brakes failed. Families will be affected forever.
I have seen a lot of fatal truck crashes, and they are always devastating. I know that not only are the families grieving but that soon they will have to figure out what comes next.
We know that no amount of money will bring back those killed, or undo the life-changing injuries. The only tool we have in the U.S. civil justice system is compensation from those responsible for the crash. We cannot undo the event: but we can help the victims move forward with their lives.
The flaw in our justice system is that motor carrier insurance limits are very low.
What’s wrong with motor carrier insurance limits
Under federal laws, the motor carrier employing that truck driver was only required to have $750,000 in insurance coverage.
The $750,000 minimum limit was set in 1985.
It has never been increased.
Had the number kept pace with the core consumer price index, the minimum required insurance for semi-trucks would be at least $1.62 million.
However, if the minimum set had kept pace with the medical consumer price index, which measures the increase annually in medical costs, motor carriers would be required to have $3.18 million in liability insurance.
No one can argue that the cost of living has not substantially increased since 1985. It is simply a fact.
Many of us lawyers who handle trucking cases have been asking the federal agency regulating the trucking industry to increase the minimum required insurance coverage. The trucking industry has always fought our efforts.
Holding wrongdoers fully responsible for their failures and bad acts is critical, not only for the victims, but for all of us.
One of the reasons we have a minimum for truck insurance is to establish an entry-level safety standard for commercial truck drivers.
If you can’t afford truck insurance, then you can’t afford routine truck maintenance, brakes, tires and equipment.
And we don’t want your truck on the road …