A proposal at the Utah state legislature would add a requirement for private aircraft owners to provide proof of liability insurance to register an airplane in Utah.
“You can’t operate a vehicle or register to drive a vehicle in Utah, but you can fly a plane without insurance,” Acton told the House Business and Labor Committee.
Acton cited a Government Accountability Office report that estimates approximately 10 to 20 percent of private airplanes do not carry liability insurance.
The issue of airplane liability insurance is part of a 2017 lawsuit filed by a woman who was driving in Roy when she was struck by a small plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Ogden-Hinckley Airport.
“Even though it might be rare, that’s the whole reason we have insurance, and I don’t think it’s too big of a burden to impose a liability requirement on the pilot,” said Robert J. Fuller, an attorney representing the victim in the case.
The pilot should take the brunt of the problem, as opposed to the person that gets struck.”
House Bill 77 would require minimum coverage of $50,000 per person for bodily injury or death and $50,000 for property damage per accident.
Fuller says those numbers are way below the potential costs of aviation accidents.
“The State of Utah is on the right path, but a federal program would probably be better,” he said.
Roy City Mayor Robert Dandoy, who has been advocating for more safety requirements for private aircraft at the Ogden Airport, also a supports H.B. 77.
Citing the lawsuit for the 2017 crash in Roy City, Dandoy says people who are impacted by plane crashes should not have to go through years of litigation to get compensation.
That’s wrong, it’s wrong! These people should not have to worry about going to work, coming home, and have to worry about if an airplane lands on their car or lands on their house, they have to start fighting to worry about who is going to pay,” Dandoy told 2News.
Eleven other states require liability insurance for private aircraft, according to Rep. Acton’s testimony.
H.B. 77 passed through the House Business and Labor Committee by a 10-3 vote and is waiting for a vote by the full House.