Trucking news and briefs for Monday, April 11, 2022:
Bipartisan bill would establish tax credit for truckers
A new bill recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would, if passed and signed into law, establish a tax credit of $7,500 over the next two years for certain holders of commercial driver’s licenses in class A.
The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia), is dubbed the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Incentives for Truck Drivers Act.
The bill would create a two-year refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for truckers with a valid Class A CDL who drive at least 1,900 hours in the year. It would also create a two-year refundable tax credit of up to $10,000 for new truck drivers or those enrolled in a registered trucking apprenticeship.
New truck drivers who have not driven a commercial truck in the previous year or who have driven less than 1,420 hours in the current year may receive part of the credit if they have driven in the less than an average of 40 hours per week when they started driving.
[Related: Per diem tax breaks just got a lot simpler, and more valuable, for owner-operators]
To qualify for the credit, the adjusted gross income of qualifying drivers cannot exceed $90,000 ($135,000 for joint tax filers and $112,500 for heads of household).
“Our legislation is a common-sense step toward solving our chronic driver shortage,” Spanberger said. “By creating a refundable tax credit for the men and women who keep our goods moving, we would encourage more young people to get behind the wheel, reduce the headaches for trucking companies and ensure that experienced drivers be rewarded for their hard work.
The American Trucking Associations approved the legislation, and ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said it would “draw even more drivers into the field by offering substantial tax credits to reduce their federal tax obligations.
The legislation faces an uphill battle to become law, as it will need to be passed by the entire US House and then the Senate before landing on President Joe Biden’s desk for a signature.
[Related: Three common fallacies in today’s popular ‘driver shortage’ narratives]
Recall of a small number of Western Star tractors and Mack electric trucks
Two recalls announced recently by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration involve a small number of Western Star 4900 tractors and Mack LR electric trucks.
The Western Star recall involves approximately 13 model year 2023 Western Star 4900 trucks in which the diverter valve air lines may have been installed incorrectly, which could reduce braking performance.
Dealers will inspect and repair the air lines free of charge. Owners may contact Daimler Trucks North America Customer Service at 1-800-547-0712 with recall number FL-924. The NHTSA recall number is 22V-205.
Mack Trucks is recalling approximately 33 model year 2023 Mack LR electric trucks due to an issue with power steering. The recall states that during certain driving maneuvers, the power steering system may lose pressure, causing a loss of power steering assistance.
The company has not yet established a solution to the problem. Owners can contact Mack customer service at 1-800-866-1177 with callback number SC0434. The NHTSA recall number is 22V-204.
The “Truckers Fund” pays off big with support for trucking at MATS
The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund was able to raise nearly $16,000 at the 50th anniversary edition of the Mid-American Trucking Show last month. Fleet Heartland Express, meanwhile, as they have done in the past for the organization known colloquially as the “Truckers Fund,” agreed to match $6,585 raised through the auction of items from raffle, said the Fund’s executive director, Donna Kennedy.
The opening celebration of MATS’ 50th anniversary involved a silent auction of items donated by a long list of supporting businesses and individuals, as well as donations from attendees. All donations benefit drivers in financial emergency caused by medical issues. TravelCenters of America held a prize wheel for SCF at its booth, and SCF did much the same at its own booth, with prizes donated by Konexial, NASTC, Road Pro Family of Brands and Brenny Transportation.
Brenny’s leader and current SCF President, Joyce Brenny, meanwhile was inducted/added to the MATS Wall of Fame along with SCF founders Dr. John McElligott and trucking radio personality Dave Nemo.
Driver honored for helping fellow trucker whose truck was swept away by tornado
The Truckload Carriers Association has named Purdy Brothers Trucking driver Charles Bearden, of Etowah, Tennessee, a Highway Angel for stopping to help another truck driver whose truck was thrown into a field by a tornado.
The evening of December 10, 2021 is an evening that many will long remember for the series of devastating tornadoes that swept across the United States. Bearden had picked up a load in Jackson, Tennessee, that day and was heading west on I-155 near the Tennessee-Missouri state line.
“It had been cloudy all day, and now there was bad lightning and the wind was starting to pick up,” he said. “The further west I went, the worse it got.
As Bearden crossed the Mississippi River into Missouri, a major weather alert was broadcast on his phone.
“He said stop and find shelter immediately – imminent danger, tornado on the ground,” he said.
Whenever lightning lit up the sky, Bearden could see the tornado sweeping across farm fields.
“When I was up on the bridge, I saw this bad boy. He was a big one,” he added. “The cloud that the funnel was in was so big you couldn’t not say it was a tornado. On the ground, it was probably the size of a football field.
Bearden watched the tornado cross the sky, zigzag, then disappear. As the wind died down, he continued on his way. Then, as he looked over the open farm fields, he saw a tractor-trailer lying on its side 350 feet from the road. He pulled over safely and rushed to the truck. Another motorist arrived at the scene a few minutes before him and helped the driver out of his overturned truck. Bearden quickly called 911. He learned that the tornado had completely lifted the truck off the road and dragged it to the side.
“The only thing touching the ground was the right front steer tire,” he said. “He blew out his windows and sucked everything out of the truck.”
The driver’s phone was found several hundred yards away. Although the truck driver was dazed, he was able to walk on his own and did not appear to be seriously injured. Bearden knows how lucky he was that day.
“This is the second time I’ve seen a tornado in the exact same location,” he said.
TCA presented Bearden with a certificate, crests, lapel pin and truck stickers. Purdy Brothers also received a letter acknowledging him as a Highway Angel.