August 29, 2017

SRINGFIELD (August 29)—Following up last year’s effort to increase the minimum Underinsured/Uninsured motor vehicle coverage for contract carrier’s, SMART-TD’s 2017 legislative initiative, Senate Bill 1681, has now been signed by the Governor and will take effect on 1/1/18.

The new law will require rail carrier’s that contract with contract carrier companies that transport rail employees to verify that the contract carrier has the minimum insurance coverage per state statute, which stands at $500,000 per passenger thanks to SMART-TD’s efforts last year.

“We’ve worked hard for over a decade to ensure proper protections were in place for our members who are transported by third party contract carriers as part of their employment,” said SMART-TD Illinois State Legislative Director Robert W. Guy. “The passage and signing of SB 1681 is another step in providing that protection and adds another layer of responsibility at the railroads feet when contracting with those contract carriers.”

“As railroaders, we know that some contract carrier’s provide the safe transportation with the required insurance that we and the rail carrier’s would expect,” Guy said. “But we also know there are some bad actors out there that are seemingly trying to skirt their responsibilities, and SB 1681 will help address that.”

While there has been minimum insurance standards for contract carrier’s in Illinois for more than a decade, starting next year the railroads will be statutorily required to verify that the contract carriers they hire to transport railroad employees actually have the required insurance.

SB 1681 amended a portion of the Illinois Vehicle Code that deals with proof of financial responsibility, the portion of state statute that contains the minimum $500,000 per passenger protections for employee transportation.

SB 1681 reads, in part….Each rail carrier that contracts with a contract carrier for the transportation of its employees in the course of their employment shall verify that the contract carrier has the minimum insurance coverage required under this subsection (c).

“We’ve seen numerous contract carrier’s fight the financial responsibility portion of state statute, to our member’s detriment,” Guy said. “Hopefully, making the railroads verify that the required insurance is in place will be another positive step forward in protecting the safety and interests of our member’s and other railroad worker’s alike.”

“I want to thank our members who reached out to their legislator’s to ask them to support SB 1681, that outreach can’t be underestimated and is needed now more than ever,” Guy said. “I want to also thank the main sponsors of SB 1681 and the Illinois General Assembly for the unanimous passage of the legislation, as well as thanking our Designated Legal Counsel (DLC) partners for their help and assistance in identifying some shortcoming within the law that hopefully have now been addressed.”