The Commercial Vehicle Safety Act of 2011, S. 1233, introduced by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) would provide a tax credit for commercial vehicle owners to install stability control systems, collision warning and other safety technology.

Identical to its House companion, H.R. 1706, which was introduced by Reps. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) earlier this year, the bill outlines tax benefits for upfitting vechicles with safety equipment. The House bill is currently co-sponsored by Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), David Dreier (R-Calif.), Michael Michaud (D-Maine); Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).

The bill:

* provides a tax credit equal to 50 percent of the cost of a qualified system, up to $1,500.
* allows a total credit of up to $3,500 per vehicle.
* limits the qualifying taxpayer to a maximum credit of $350,000 per taxable year.
* extends credit eligibility for the purchase of school buses, intercity buses and vehicles used in commerce weighing over 26,000 pounds.

The covered safety technologies are brake stroke monitoring systems, stability control systems, lane departure warning systems and collision warning or mitigation systems.

The list of eligible technologies was crafted with the help of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and is designed to target the causes of approximately 60% of commercial motor vehicle accidents, as identified in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Large Truck Crash Causation Study.

The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and its affiliate organization, the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association, strongly support the bill. Leaders of both organizations said the bill will help reduce accidents and fatalities on our roadways. Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems also supports both bills.

According to the Department of Transportation, over 3,600 people were killed and more than 75,000 were injured on our nation's highways in accidents involving heavy-duty vehicles in 2009.