CVSA Joins Chorus of Transport Groups Backing Truck Safety Bill

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has added its support for a recently proposed bill that would provide a tax credit to those who purchase trucks and buses with certain safety technologies installed, saying the legislation is "the right thing to do." Introduced just before the August recess by Senators Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and George Voinovich, R-OH, Senate Bill 3428 provides tax credits for four safety technologies identified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in its recent Large Truck Crash Causation Study, which focuses on systems for collision avoidance, lane departure warning, stability control, and brake stroke monitoring. Having such systems will help reduce truck crashes and fatalities, the report says.

"This bill is the right thing to do," said CVSA Executive Director Stephen F. Campbell. "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 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 busses, intercity buses and vehicles used in commerce. The bill's approach also has received support from FMCSA and the National Transportation Safety Board. In testimony last year before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, NTSB Chair Mark V. Rosenker said the quickest way to promote widespread use of motor vehicle safety technologies was through the tax incentive approach. FMCSA Administrator John H. Hill in a variety of public comments has also been a proponent of tax incentives as an effective way to accelerate the widespread use of new safety technologies.

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 HR 3820 introduced in the House last October by Representatives 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," Campbell said.

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