Wisconsin adopts indemnification protection

| 7/26/2011

Truck drivers in Wisconsin now are protected from an unfair clause in motor carrier contracts.

Intended to level the playing field for truckers, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a bill that does away with indemnification clauses in trucking contracts. The clauses are set up to protect shippers or hold them harmless from anything that happens with a shipment.

“Indemnification clauses require freight carriers to take on liability for the negligence of the shipper. In practice, this means that a trucker is responsible for the trailer packing, even though the shipper packs the truck,” Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, said recently in prepared remarks.

Wisconsin is the most recent of nearly 30 states to outlaw the provisions in contracts. As of July 20, motor carrier contracts in Wisconsin that provide for shippers to be indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence are “void and unenforceable.”

Affected contracts are defined as “any agreement, regardless of whether it is written, oral, express, or implied,” between a motor carrier and a shipper covering the transportation of property for hire by the motor carrier, entry on property to load, unload or transport property, or any service incidental to such activity, including the storage of property.

OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz said truck drivers welcome the change.

“This type of rule is good for all truckers coping with unreasonable demands from those who contract for transportation,” Rajkovacz said. “This is a real example of how the ‘playing field’ is leveled.”

To view other legislative activities of interest for Wisconsin, click here.

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