The recent tragic and fatal crash that took the lives of a young pastor, his pregnant wife and a mother of five offers a very real example of why the government needs to enact higher insurance minimums for commercial trucks, buses and motor coaches.
As reported in the news, the bus carrying 40 parishioners — most of them children — back to Indianapolis from a camp in Michigan crashed into a barrier as it exited I-365. As a result of running into the barrier, the bus toppled over.
The bus is owned and was being operated by the church that organized the week long camp for children. The driver of the bus, who stated that the brakes failed as he tried to slow down on the exit ramp, is a member of the parish.
I can only imagine how devastated the church that owns the bus must be by the loss of its pastor and parishioners. They must surely be heartbroken by the tragedy that has befallen their church and community. The parish leaders will invariably want to take care of the needs (both spiritual and temporal) of those injured in the crash. Yet given the number and extent of injuries sustained, combined with the loss of life of three people, the cost of meeting those needs is likely to be great.
In 1980, a regulation was passed that set insurance levels for trucks and buses at $750,000. That amount must have seemed like a great deal of money more than 30 years ago, but in today’s economy, such a minimum is nowhere near the level of coverage that could enable a church (or indeed any community group or organization) to cover medical costs, lost wages and other financials needs of those injured in their own motor coaches.
It’s entirely foreseeable that a church or community group would look to the federal guidelines when considering how much insurance coverage is acceptable. Given that the federal guidelines are so woefully inadequate, it strikes me that we are allowing our churches and communities to be set up for a significant fall. More must to done to implement higher insurance minimums for motor carriers.
A Call for Higher Insurance Minimums
At a truck accident lawyer, I support US Rep. Matt Cartwright’s call for higher insurance minimums for trucks and buses. I call on our nation’s leaders and legislators to take action now to prevent this sort of shortsightedness to wreak more havoc than it already has.