Minimum Limits for Trucking Companies Haven't Increased Since 1980

Washington, DC— The following is a statement from American Association for Justice CEO Linda Lipsen on the introduction of the INSURANCE Act, a bill that would require the Secretary of the Department of Transportation to tie the minimum insurance floor, currently $750,000 as set in 1980, to the rate of inflation of medical care as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every five years:

“This is a public safety issue. America’s highways are more deadly than they were just 10 years ago. The number of people injured in large truck crashes has more than doubled over the last 10 years, while fatalities increased 43%. When an unsafe driver or poorly maintained truck causes a catastrophic crash that kills or injures other drivers and passengers on the roads, the current minimum from 1980 must cover everyone injured in the crash and is often not enough to pay for life-altering injuries. Insurance coverage must be adequate to cover lost wages and medical costs."

https://www.justice.org/resources/press-center/trucking-made-safer-by-insurance-act-says-aaj

Bisected by the Tennessee River, bordering Georgia and Alabama, at the junction of three interstate highways, including the heavily traveled I-75 corridor, Chattanooga, Tennessee is both a historic railroad town and a modern transportation hub.  I-24 begins in Chattanooga running northwest toward Nashville, TN.  I-59 also begins just outside Chattanooga and runs south toward Birmingham, AL.  To the south, toward Atlanta along I-75, lies Dalton, GA a world center for the carpet and flooring industry. Chattanooga’s diversified economy includes the Volkswagen North American assembly plant, as well as insurance giants Blue Cross Blue Shield and Unum.  Chattanooga is also a major tourist destination attracting millions of visitors each year.  As a result, The Hamilton Firm LLC focus much of its work on representation of persons injured in trucking and transportation related cases as well as serious workplace injury cases.

Chattanooga is the headquarters for two of the nation’s major trucking companies, U.S. Xpress and Covenant Transport. And as crossroads city, Chattanooga ranks first in the nation among all metropolitan cities for the volume of freight moving through the city by truck (according to a recent freight study by Cambridge Systematics and reported in the Chattanooga Times Free Press). Problem areas include the interchanges as well as the entire section of I-24 from I-59 to I-75, and I-75 north to Cleveland, TN. Tractor trailers, while essential to a thriving economy, also present great risks to the traveling public if not operated safely by well trained professional drivers with well maintained equipment.

Chattanooga is also a rail hub for Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads.  Travel, transport and commerce by water, rail and road are essential to our lives and economy, but all the economic activity also brings traffic and congestion, which can lead to more wrecks, accidents and injuries.  This can be a volatile mix when combined with the high freight volume on tractor trailers traveling through or originating in the area.