WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal proposal that could have led to increased insurance requirements for school bus contractors and other commercial operators has been withdrawn by the Trump administration.
The advance notice of proposed rulemaking was issued under the Obama administration on Nov. 28, 2014. It requested comment on whether the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should increase the minimum insurance requirements for commercial motor carriers.
In pulling the proposal on Monday, the agency said that “after reviewing all public comments … FMCSA has determined that it has insufficient data or information to support moving forward with a rulemaking proposal, at this time.”
School bus contractors are federally required to have at least $1.5 million or $5 million, depending on passenger capacity, for each vehicle that is used for purposes other than home-to-school transportation, such as activity trips and charter service. FMCSA reportedly suggested that the insurance minimums should be raised to as much as $25 million for large vehicles.
In responding to the advance notice of proposed rulemaking on Feb. 25, 2015, the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) wrote that FMCSA had not demonstrated that current federal insurance minimums were inadequate, nor how increasing those limits would improve safety. The school bus contractors association also argued that the agency did not provide any data or analysis specific to the school transportation industry.
“The school bus and its safety record is not comparable to other types of commercial motor vehicles,” NSTA wrote in its comment. “Simply put, we do not think Federal minimum insurance requirements for school buses can be viewed through the same prism as other commercial motor vehicles.”
On Tuesday, NSTA praised the withdrawal of FMCSA’s proposal.
“School bus transportation is the safest mode of transportation available, and current federal insurance minimums are more than adequate,” NSTA Executive Director Ronna Weber said. “Above all, imposing a burdensome increase in limits without research or data would have caused unnecessary harm to the industry and its ability to continue to transport the nation's schoolchildren safely."