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Sponsored - Is the Motor Carrier Safety Selection Standard Act really promoting safety for your family on the road, or seeking to protect insurance brokers from liability?

At Scott Vicknair Injury Lawyers, we advocate for injured and severely hurt people who have been in trucking collisions and wrecks. Recently, a bill began circulating in congress that could have wide-ranging effects on truck accident settlements throughout the country - H.R. 915, also known as the Motor Carrier Safety Selection Standard Act.

At first glance, the bill seems straightforward and positive. It purports to establish a standard of care for the selection of brokers and other entities that contract with motor carriers for the shipment of goods. In simpler terms, the bill aims to set a national standard for selecting the entities responsible for shipping goods across the country. Sounds good, right?

However, the language of the bill can be deceptive. Beneath its seemingly harmless exterior lies a provision that could potentially harm victims of trucking accidents.

First, let me explain some finer points of how shipping operates in America. You might assume that companies like Walmart, Target, and Coca-Cola employ their own drivers and own their own trucks. This is largely true for huge corporations, but there are also smaller companies that don’t make enough to move their goods and resources. Those companies will hire trucking companies to move their products.

Instead of working with the trucking companies directly, companies that want to ship products will contract with a trucking broker. The trucking broker connects trucking companies to the business that needs product shipped. For example, if a business in New Orleans wants to transport materials to Miami, it will contract with a broker and then the broker will find a trucking company to make that shipment.

Here is where these details get important for victims of truck accidents. Today, if a truck driver is negligent and causes an accident, your attorney will look at all the parties involved - including the trucking broker who hired the truck. If the broker was negligent and hired a truck driver with a checkered driving history, then they could be held financially responsible for the accident.

H.R. 915 will change this. The language of H.R. 915 states that brokers are not liable for any negligence from the truck driver as long as they followed certain criteria when selecting companies.

Basically, as long as the trucking company 1) registered as a motor carrier, 2) has the minimum allowed insurance, and 3) has been confirmed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

While these changes to requirements for motor carriers may increase road safety, it does not require an increase in the minimum allowed insurance required for trucks. That could mean truck accident victims are left with a smaller pool of funds to compensate them for their injuries.

In essence, while the H.R. 915 bill may appear to be a step towards a more standardized and regulated way of selecting entities for shipping goods, it harbors a provision that could tip the balance unfavorably against victims of trucking accidents. It’s crucial for us to understand the implications beneath the surface and advocate for legislation that protects all parties involved equitably.