The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Industry Group Backs Bill Seeking Tax Credits for Safety Technologies

August 07, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is actively backing Senate legislation that seeks to provide tax credits for purchases of trucks and buses equipped with certain safety technologies.

Senate Bill 3428, introduced just prior to the August recess by senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and George Voinovich (R-OH), aims to significantly reduce commercial vehicle crashes and save lives.

"This bill is the right thing to do," said Stephen F. Campbell, CVSA's executive director. "It is about encouraging investment in safety through the purchase and installation of technologies on trucks and buses that have been tested and proven to work. It will certainly help reduce heavy truck fatalities which have been hovering around 5,000 per year for the last 10 years."

The bill provides tax credits for four safety technologies identified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in its recent Large Truck Crash Causation Study. The four technologies that would help reduce truck crashes and fatalities are: collision avoidance, lane departure warning, stability control, and brake stroke monitoring systems. The tax credit would be equal to 50 percent of the cost of a qualified system, up to $1,500; allow a total credit of up to $3,500 per vehicle; limit the qualifying taxpayer to a maximum credit to $350,000 per taxable year; and extend credit eligibility for the purchase of school buses, intercity buses and vehicles used in commerce.

The Senate bill's approach has also drawn support from the FMSCA and National Transportation Safety Board. In testimony last year before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker said the quickest way to promote widespread use of motor vehicle safety technologies was through the tax incentive approach.

On Capitol Hill, Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) also signed on to the measure as an original co-sponsor. It is a companion bill to HR3820, which was introduced in the House last October by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Ron Lewis (R-KY). There are now 16 co-sponsors of the House bill.

"Efforts to gain as much support as possible for this legislation are being made in order to ensure it becomes a high priority for consideration in next year's reauthorization bill," said Campbell.

CVSA is a nonprofit group comprised of motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from North America. 

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