WELD COUNTY, Colo. — The national Truck Safety Coalition in Washington D.C. is calling on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for an audit of the entire trucking industry to see how many trucks are on the road without insurance.
The move comes after 9NEWS reported Monday on a federal lawsuit alleging Caminantes Trucking operated without insurance for 28 months before a truck driver crashed into a car on I-25 in June of 2022. The crash killed a family of five in Weld County.
The lawsuit claims Caminantes Trucking operated trucks for more than two years without insurance and tried to buy insurance for the truck involved an hour after the crash.
“I was flabbergasted,” said , executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition. “Completely shocked.”
Cahalan says there are likely many more trucks on the road without insurance that the federal government does not know about.
Federal agencies say it’s up to the trucking companies to make sure the insurance companies tell the government if an insurance plan is cancelled. If that sounds backwards or confusing or just plain wrong, Cahalan agrees.
“We lack the means, or maybe the will, to aggressively enforce the rules that we already have, which are in my view, minimal,” said Cahalan. “This agency is accountable to the public. If they’re not doing job number one to keep us safe, we need to know about it.”
The lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that State Farm cancelled Caminantes’s insurance policy in 2020 but never told the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Because of that, they were allowed to operate for years without insurance until the crash.
“Could you imagine losing all of those people in your family and then finding out, oh you know what, the federal government didn’t make sure that they had insurance, so sorry,” Cahalan said.
The insurance minimum trucking companies are required to have is $750,000 worth of coverage. That number was set over 40 years ago when $750,000 went a lot further. Today, if you get in a crash, it could cost millions of dollars with medical bills. Even if a trucking company is insured, the payout could still be very small.
Lawyers say it was a crash 28 months in the making with signs that were ignored everywhere that Caminantes Trucking should never have been on the road.
“Completely shocked,” Cahalan said. “I still can’t believe what these allegations are saying. It’s shocking.”
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