Proposed Per-Mile Tax Could Contribute to Increased Risk of Car Accidents

Insurance companies have already talked about charging you rates by the mile instead of by the month. Now the government is looking into the same idea. There’s an underlying plan to this move. Since the government is gaining less revenue from fuel with the production of hybrid cars, lawmakers are predicting that billions of dollars in fuel taxes won’t be coming their way in upcoming years, and they’re looking for a way to make up the difference. One idea for making up this difference is a GPS navigation system that would track every single mile we travel and then report the findings to government, which would then include this number in our taxes.

Motorists could be required to pay a fixed rate or a varying charge depending on how many miles were traveled, according to MSN Autos.
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Many safe driving advocates believe it could force motorists to travel through busy routes, most populated by other drivers, and increase their risks of being involved in a car accident in Chicago or elsewhere in the United States. Overnight, the shortest distance would rule the day — regardless of congestion. Many drivers enjoy taking the longer route, whether it’s to enjoy the scenery or to avoid congested roadways. The bottom line is, the driving habits of many motorists would be altered with pay by the mile driving and that concerns many.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys feel that lawmakers need to look long and hard at this idea before making any moves. This theory sounds extremely similar to the tax that many states are proposing on private aircraft. For states with substantial budget deficits, state lawmakers make no hesitation in slapping pilots with a use tax, a property tax, an excise tax, a registration tax, a sales tax and a fuel tax. The latest plan would charge pilots by the landing. This is a prime example of politicians hatching plots without all the necessary information. Pilots often practice landings. The proposal would discourage that, and thereby increase the risk of airplane accidents.

Oregon was the latest to propose the idea of taxed mileage. Lawmakers are currently looking over a new regulation that would charge a driver about 0.85 cents for each mile through 2015. That number is expected to jump to $1.85 a mile by 2018.

As it stands now, the average car in America is getting a combined mpg of 25 and dishing out a little less than 2 cents for each mile in fuel excise taxes. Excise taxes vary from state to state.

While Oregon’s proposed tax has been postponed through debate, a number of other states are proposing the same idea, including Minnesota and Texas.

Europe is one step ahead of the United States with the proposals however. Places like the Netherlands are already testing out the idea. The Netherlands has some of the most severe traffic problems on that continent. As they were just about to post the tax, a new government set the plan aside last year.

“The trials work well, but it’s first a psychological issue and second a political choice,” Eric-Mark Huitema, a specialist with IBM that developed the system.

To no one’s surprise, American drivers oppose the new tax, fearing that the government’s eye will have access to too much information regarding their whereabouts. Advocates of the GPS devices reiterate that the systems will not be able to looking into where the vehicle is driven, but only how far it’s driven.

J.D. Power and Associates studies predict that the use of plug-in vehicles, hybrids and battery-electric vehicles will only make up, at the most, 7 percent of the country’s market by 2020. But it’s the creation of vehicles with better mpg ratings that’s worrying lawmakers, too.

Some experts believe, that by 2025, we can expect an average mpg of nearly 55. Government officials will find a way to make up the difference and that’s no doubt.

“It is an issue we will have to deal with,” said Mary D. Nichols of the California Air Resources Board.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck accident in Illinois, call the accident lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free consultation. Call (866) 99-ABELS.

Additional Resources:

States mull taxing drivers by the mile, by Paul A. Eisenstein, MSN Autos
More Blog Entries:

New Technology Aims to Curb Driver Distractions and Prevent Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, August 14, 2011

Gov. Quinn Increases Speed Limit – Motorists Worry about Speed-Related Trucking Accidents in Illinois
, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, August 10, 2011