2020 MTA Legislative Priorities
Support Existing Definition of Independent Contractors
Minnesota legislators are being asked to consider legislation that would greatly restrict the ability to be an independent contractor in the trucking industry. Right now, Minnesota has a sensible law that protects the freedom of drivers to choose what works for them while preventing egregious misclassifications by carriers. Minnesota needs to preserve the rights of independent contractors to work in the trucking industry. Oppose HF2491/SF2472
Support Truck Parking Bonding Request
The trucking industry faces a major truck parking shortage. This was validated by a 2019 MnDOT Truck Parking Study, which found the need for targeted expansion of truck parking at Minnesota trunk highway public rest areas. Lack of adequate parking increases driver fatigue and reduces highway safety. The MTA is seeking $2,700,000 to expand truck parking by 22 spots on I-94 near Avon and Monticello.
Support Efforts to Reform Minnesota’s Tort System
Premiums for truck fleet liability insurance are increasing at unsustainable, double-digit rates. These increases are being driven by “nuclear verdicts,” multi-million- dollar jury awards that seek out those with the deepest pockets and are not proportional to the liability. In addition, juries and judges are now awarding damages many times greater in small cases. A case worth $100,000 in 2014 is worth upwards of $200,000 today. Reforming Minnesota’s tort system, such as the statute of limitations to bring a suit and admissibility of seat belt use, are ways to help reign in unreasonable awards. Fleet insurance premiums will be a key factor in fleet survival and growth.
Support Efforts to Reduce Impaired Driving
The National Institutes of Health reports marijuana use significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination and reaction time. Studies have found drivers with THC in their blood are twice as likely to cause a fatal accident as drivers who have not used drugs or alcohol. A 2018 Highway Loss Data Institute study found that the legalization of retail sales of marijuana was associated with a 6.0 percent increase in collision claim frequency. There is no enforceable national impairment standard for marijuana. Legalizing recreational marijuana will reduce highway safety and shrink our available driver pool in the midst of an on-going truck driver shortage.