May 24, 2017
SPRINGFIELD (May 24)—SMART-TD’s SB 1681 cleared the Illinois House Insurance Committee by a 10-0 vote yesterday and will now head to the floor for a full House vote, possibly by the end of the week.
SB 1681 seeks to ensure that contract carriers that transport railroad employees in the course of their employment have the statutorily required minimum uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage, which as of January 1, 2017 is $500,000 per passenger.
Since the adoption of UM/UIM minimums, there have been some instances where it was discovered that contract carriers operating in Illinois had failed to carry the statutory minimum coverage, which puts SMART-TD members and other railroaders in peril if they’re injured in an accident caused by a wrongful driver.
Because contract carriers are different from other motorists, as they are contracted to transport employees, the Illinois Legislature has determined that a higher amount of UM/UIM is necessary to ensure adequate compensation to workers injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
“We’ve worked very hard and in a bi-partisan nature over the years to establish this minimum coverage for contract carrier vehicles,” said SMART-TD Illinois State Director Robert W. Guy. “The Illinois General Assembly has understood that these minimums must be in place to protect railroad workers, who are forced to utilize this form of transportation on a daily basis.”
Given some non-compliance by some contract carriers, SB 1681 would require railroads to verify that the contract carriers they hire to haul their employees have the statutory minimum motor vehicle coverage.
“SB 1681 is a common sense approach to contract carrier non-compliance,” Guy said. “Requiring rail carriers to verify that the proper insurance is in place is not overly burdensome of the industry and may very well protect them as much as it protects our members.”
With SB 1681 slated for a full House vote in the coming days please contact your Illinois State Representative to ask for their support. For assistance in finding contact information for your State Representative please visit www.illini.utu.org and click on “Legislator Lookup”, or call the SMART-TD Legislative office at 312-236-5353.
Also, as mentioned in a previous article, there’s a fabulous tool available that puts your legislator’s contact info in the palm of your hand. The Illinois AFL-CIO has a wonderful smartphone APP that put’s the contact info for the entire Illinois General Assembly at your fingertips. To download, go to the APP store and search for ‘Illinois AFL-CIO Legislative Directory’, it’s $1.99 and will allow you quick and easy access to contact information for your individual state legislator’s.