New Jersey Increases Truck Liability Insurance Minimum to $1.5 Million.  In a bill signed into law by the Governor on January 16, 2024, the State of New Jersey has increased the minimum liability insurance requirements for truck operators to $1.5 million.  Under the new law, effective July 1, 2024, New Jersey will require commercial motor vehicles to maintain proof of financial responsibility of $1.5 million for CMVs 26,001 lbs. and higher, including those transporting hazardous materials, to cover bodily injury, death and property damage.

Trucks weighing between 10,001 and 26,000 lbs. will be required to maintain limits of $300,000. The coverage required by the statute may be satisfied by a commercial auto policy, fleet insurance, a commercial umbrella policy, commercial excess coverage, a similar insurance policy, or any combination of these types of coverage.

Although the scope of the new law is still somewhat unclear, the requirements appear to apply to CMVs registered or principally garaged in the State, whether they operate in interstate or intrastate commerce.

This is the first State to increase liability insurance minimums in an amount greater than federal requirements.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires motor carriers operating in interstate commerce to have at least $750,000 in coverage for transporting general freight, $1 million for oil and lower risk hazardous materials, and $5 million for higher risk hazardous materials.

There have been efforts underway in Congress for several years to increase the minimum coverage amounts for motor carriers in interstate commerce, which have not changed since 1985.  But in May 2022, the FMCSA issued a report to Congress declining to recommend any increase in minimum coverage due to a lack of adequate data on truck crash litigation settlements, which insurance companies are reluctant to publicize.

New Jersey to Mandate Recycling of EV Batteries by 2027.  The Governor of New Jersey also signed into effect a law making that State the first in the country to require the reuse and recycling of electric vehicle batteries. Beginning in January 2027, the new law will prohibit unauthorized persons from disposing of EV batteries and their subcomponents as solid waste. In addition, no solid waste facility in New Jersey may knowingly accept for disposal an EV battery unless authorized by the State.

As of January 2025, New Jersey EV battery producers will be required to register with New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, and by January 2026 they must annually report to the DEP the quantity of EV batteries they sold, offered for sale, or distributed in New Jersey. The statute requires the DEP to develop and provide the EV battery industry with standards and criteria covering the entire recycling process that includes the collection, transportation, recycling, reuse, repurposing, or ultimate disposal of EV batteries.

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