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Ruling in that case, Judge William Highberger wrote Wednesday that owner-operator truck drivers should not be reclassified as employees under AB 5 — or under the so-called Dynamex court decision.

  1. This ruling marks another important step in a series of reforms to traffic court procedures that harmed low-income drivers without improving public safety. These reforms include the elimination in 2017 of driver’s license suspensions based on a driver’s failure to pay their traffic ticket.
  2. Several kinds of plates. Drivers may choose to display the State’s general-issue license plates. Of Motor Vehicles, Motor Vehicle Registration Manual 9.1 (Apr. Each of these plates contains the word “Texas,” a license plate number, a silhouette of the State, a graphic of the Lone Star, and the slogan “The Lone.
  3. 10, 2020, a California judge ordered ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees, not contractors. It's the first ruling in what is expected to be a drawn-out legal battle over implementation of a new state law relating to the gig economy.

How are my Aspen policies affected?

They are not! Aspen NEVER sold Named Driver policies! Your policies with Aspen are perfectly legal and will continue to renew with NO issues!

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We have never utilized the Named Driver endorsements on our Standard or Limited Forms. Both Standard and Limited options will continue to be available in the future and are NOT subject to this law change.

How can Aspen help you?

Our In-Agency Transfer discount is HUGE! This discount can be used in combination with our many other discounts (Advanced Quote and EFT to name a few) to help you easily transition your clients policies to better coverage with superior customer service. Our easy and intuitive system will make the transition seamless.

How and when this law takes effect?

The 86th Texas Legislative Session passed H.B. 259 and eliminated Named Driver policies effective January 1, 2020. After this date, no new policies can be written that include specific Named Driver endorsements. In addition, all existing Named Driver policies must be non-renewed beginning January 1, 2020 – meaning that all policies containing the illegal Named Driver endorsements will begin non renewing no later than December 2, 2019 with the required 30-day notice.

Understanding how the Named Driver policy worked:

Car insurance typically operates under a principle of “permissive use.” This means that if an auto policy holder loans their car to someone and that driver has an accident, the loss would be eligible for coverage with a “permissive user”; the operator is given coverage within the policy provisions.

In Texas, a Named Driver policy included endorsements that removed undisclosed permissive use drivers from certain coverages. In other words, these types of policies would not cover certain permissive use drivers if they were undisclosed and living in the household. So, if any driver living in the household that was not listed on the Declarations Page were to have an accident, the insurer may not have an obligation to cover the damages. This meant the vehicle would not be covered by the insurer, and both policyholder and the un-listed driver could be held personally liable for any damages caused to others in the accident (regardless of permissive use).

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Why was the law changed?

The State determined that policies including certain Named Driver endorsements were too ambiguous and difficult for many insureds to understand. This left opportunity for insureds to misinterpret their coverage leaving many unknowingly unprotected. In addition to the insured’s lack of protection, this ambiguity and lack of coverage could affect the un-listed driver, as well as any parties owed damages on property or injuries.


U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has released a final rule that will allow commercial drivers to continue hands-free cell phone use, but will bar operating handheld cell phones while driving.

The new rule still will permit truck and bus drivers to use handheld cells after they have moved their vehicles to the side of or off of a highway or have stopped where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration joint rule will become effective Jan. 3.

Violators will face a maximum civil penalty of $2,750 for each offense. CDL holders will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses and states will suspend CDLs after two or more serious traffic violations.

Truck and bus companies that allow drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000.

FMCSA research shows using a handheld cell phone while driving requires “several risky steps” beyond what is required for a hands-free mobile phone. Dialing a hand-held cell phone increases the crash-risk for commercial drivers six-fold, it stated.

Last year, the agency issued a final rule banning commercial drivers from text messaging while operating trucks or buses. Earlier this year, the PHMSA published a companion final rule barring texting by intrastate hazardous materials drivers.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had asked the agency why other risky activities contributing to driver distraction were not addressed in the rule. The FMCSA noted it is considering an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to seek public comment on the extent further regulatory is needed to address other in-cab electronic devices that may result in distracted driving.

However, the agency disagreed with OOIDA’s assertion that the new regulation constituted a “search” or “seizure” to which the Fourth Amendment protection applies.

The American Trucking Associations has supported the handheld ban, while strongly opposing barring on hands-free devices. The ATA supports barring texting and handheld cell use for all motorists to reduce distracted driving.

The association had asked that the word “knowingly” be inserted after “no motor carrier shall” and before “allow or require its drivers to use a hand-held mobile telephone while driving a CMV.”


The FMCSA acknowledges that some drivers will violate company policy, but stated the carrier remains “responsible for the actions of its drivers.”


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