New legislation introduced by a Louisiana lawmaker would aim to lower insurance rates and protect truckers by making it a federal crime to stage crashes.

The “Highway Accident Fairness Act of 2021” bill was introduced in the U.S. House on December 7, 2021, by U.S. Congressman Garret Graves along with U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar. The bill would make it a federal crime to stage a crash for the purpose of fraudulently claiming financial damages.

The bill is supported by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

Graves says that the bill would benefit drivers by lowering insurance rates while also supporting and protecting the trucking industry.

“Louisiana drivers pay some of the highest insurance rates in America. This is unacceptable and the solutions don’t require rocket science. Our bill will prevent criminal rings from further increasing the cost to drive and do business in Louisiana. That one $4.7 million settlement caused all of our insurance rates to go up. Our legislation cracks down on fraudulent claims, increases safety on the roads, and will help to lower insurance rates for drivers. Thanks to Rep. Cuellar for joining the effort, the American Trucking Association, and all those supporting,” Graves said.

“Highways are a significant component of our economic supply chain. Every single day, goods flow across states to get food on shelves and products in homes. We must commit ourselves to keeping these transit corridors open and safe all year round,” Cuellar said. “That is why we must pass this important legislation protecting our truckers from staged collisions that cause dangers for civilians on the road and economic problems for trucking companies provided an essential service. Thank you to Rep. Graves and the American Trucking Association for their support.”

So far, 40 people have been charged in connection with a large scale criminal ring to fraudulently stage more than 100 crashes with semi trucks in the New Orleans area, with one of those crashes resulting in a $4.7 million settlement. Twenty-nine people have so far been convicted.

“We thank Reps. Cuellar and Graves for introducing this common-sense bill to curb rampant lawsuit abuse against the trucking industry. Staged accidents, third-party litigation financing, and disproportionate nuclear verdicts are perverting civil justice into a profit center, jeopardizing highway safety and adding more costs and strain to our nation’s supply chain,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said. “This legislation would restore balance and fairness to the system and help ensure justice drives accident litigation – not profiteering and windfalls.”

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