Federal Legislation Aims to Improve Safety on North Carolina Roadways

Federal lawmakers have proposed legislation to make safety equipment more affordable to commercial vehicle owners. Known as The Commercial Vehicle Safety Act of 2011 (S. 1233 and its twin H.R. 1706), the act amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax credit to install certain monitoring and warning devices on large trucks.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), over 3,600 people were killed and more than 75,000 were seriously injured in trucking-related accidents throughout 2009. The goal of the law, which is supported by various manufacturer associations, is to encourage truckers and trucking companies to implement specific safety technologies, such as stability control and collision warning systems, to decrease personal injury and fatal truck accidents on America's roadways.

Tim Kraus, the president and chief operating officer of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA), believes the legislation will allow the trucking industry "to address the prevalent causes of accidents, as identified by the 2006 Large Truck Crash Causation Study, in an expeditious manner." These causes focus on driver, carrier, environmental and mechanical factors, including:

  • Truck driver fatigue
  • Truck driver license status
  • Truck driver experience and training
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Vehicle size/weight/load
  • Road conditions
  • Traffic controls

If the Commercial Vehicle Safety Act of 2011 passes, it will allow owners of commercial vehicles to receive tax credits for installing specified technology, with the credits terminating after 2016. These tax credits include a general business tax credit equal to 50 percent of the cost of a qualified system, up to $1,500, with a total credit of up to $3,500 per vehicle and a maximum credit of $350,000 per taxable year.

As of June 20, 2011, S. 1233 has been read twice in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Finance. In the House, H.R. 1706 has been introduced and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. No additional action has been taken.

If you have been injured in an accident with a truck or any other commercial vehicle, it is important to consult with an experienced North Carolina truck accident lawyer who can explain your options to you.

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