Legislation would clear carriers of certain liabilities
(Vestal, NY) – Members of the state and local trucking industry joined Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo Friday to call on the Governor to sign a bill that would ensure fair contracts for truckers and encourage the growth of small business carriers. The bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Lupardo and passed in both houses of the State Legislature last spring, would eliminate the use of indemnity clauses in trucking contracts.
“The way trucking contracts are currently written, companies are often faced with burdensome liabilities when damage to goods is not their fault,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, prime sponsor of the bill in the Assembly. “The status quo has not always been fair to small business owners, like motor carriers, who make up the bulk of our employers. I worked with Senator Nozzolio to pass this bill to put an end to the unfair indemnity contracting practices in motor carrier contracts. We’ll continue to chip away at these burdensome requirements to make the state a place where businesses can grow and prosper.”
“This bill restores common sense to the laws governing common carriers in our State”, said Senator Mike Nozzolio, the prime sponsor of the bill in the Senate. “Over forty states have adopted these provisions, and the remainder are considering similar legislation. By changing the law we are taking an important step forward to ensure New York State does not treat the trucking industry unfairly, and this will ultimately result in more competition, more jobs, and lower prices for the consumers of New York State.”
Currently, indemnity clauses result in liability being placed on the carrier when goods are damaged, regardless of who is at fault. For example, if an order of produce spoils at the warehouse where it is stored, the carrier that ships it can still be held liable for the damage even though it did not occur during transport. The bill passed unanimously in both houses of the Legislature last spring and is currently awaiting action by the Governor. If signed, New York will be the 45th state to adopt such a law.
“The Trucking Association of New York has long-held that carriers should not be forced to sign contracts which require them to shoulder the blame for damage to cargo not within their control,” said Kendra Hems, President of the Trucking Association of New York. “This legislation finally remedies the loophole in the law which had made that both a legal and common practice which helps to improve the business climate for fleets operating in New York. We would like to thank Assemblywoman Lupardo and Senator Nozzolio for their unwavering support in our effort and for ensuring that fairness in trucking industry contracts prevailed.”
“With rising costs within the commercial transportation industry and new challenges that often cannot be predicted, this law will help those that we serve by not automatically holding them liable for something they themselves did not cause,” Michael Burr of Burr Truck. “For too many years, the onus for damaged goods fell squarely on the trucking companies hauling freight when often times the damage did not result from the carrier. We would like to thank Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Senator Nozzolio, and all other elected officials that helped bring this law to fruition. We feel it will now level the playing field and ensure that those responsible for the damage to goods are the ones paying for its replacement.”
The bill must be acted on by the Governor by the end of November 7th.