A new bill in Congress would give heavy-duty trucks a tax break for using safety technologies such as collision and lane departure warning, as well as stability and brake-stroke monitoring.
"The goal is to get safety systems
into service as quickly as possible," said Timothy Kraus, president and COO of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association. HDMA with its affiliate Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association worked with Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., to draft and introduce the measure.
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Advanced Safety Technology Act, as it is called, would give a corporate income tax credit equal to 50 percent of the cost of a qualified safety system, up to $1,500.
The maximum credit for each vehicle would be $3,500, and the fleet would be limited to a benefit of $350,000 per year. The measure would expire at the end of 2012.
The benefit would apply to school, intercity and local buses as well as trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds. It would start when the bill is signed into law; there is no provision for retroactive benefits.
The bill gives the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the authority to add safety systems to the list.
Under the proposal, the manufacturer would have to certify that the system is appropriate for the vehicle and will work if it is properly installed. If the system is retrofitted, the installer will have to certify that it works.
It is too early to know how the bill will be received in Congress. The idea of tax incentives for safety gear has long been attractive to the safety community, but negotiations in Congress will be complicated by the necessity of coming up with funding to balance the loss of income to the treasury.