How many times have you sat in traffic on the interstate, anxious to get to where you were going only to find out that there has been an accident that is going to detain you and cause you to be late? The accident, you later find out, was the outcome of a tractor trailer taking a turn too fast, resulting in a rollover that closed both lanes of traffic and involved several cars.
Unfortunately, situations like this occur every day, resulting in delays, injuries, and even fatalities. But the federal government is hoping to crack down on rollovers through a proposal announced last week.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking a regulation that would require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on heavy-duty trucks with a manufacturing year of 2016 and onward.
The agency plans to have the rule active within the next four years and will hold a comment period this summer.
Bendix, who “sold the first commercially available ESC for heavy vehicles in 2005,” along with their competitor, Meritor Wabco, support the agency’s crash prevention proposal. 1
Over the years, more and more stability control systems have been utilized by truck manufacturers and carriers such as Road Scholar Transport to prevent rollovers due to unpreventable icy and wet weather conditions and increase safety on the road, and with stricter regulations, are being utilized to help improve a company’s CSA scores.
There are two types of available stability control systems: Roll Stability Control (RSC) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Whereas the two systems contain sensors that will reduce the throttle and apply the brakes when necessary to prevent a rollover situation, RSC only detects roll instability while ESC detects both roll and yaw instability.
ESC systems are also more expensive to install than RSC, costing an additional average of $1,160 per new truck. 2 However, due to greater safety benefits, the NHTSA chose to support the mandatory use of ESCs.
Is the higher cost worth it? You decide. Let’s look at an example.
On September 8, 2008, a fatal accident occurred on the Donner Pass. According to reports, a trainee was driving as the trainer slept in the back. The trainer was driving too fast, causing a horrific rollover that killed them both.
According to the NHTSA, this technology “would help prevent 40-56 percent of untripped rollovers (generally attributed to vehicle top-heaviness, roadway slope, curves, and other factors) and 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes caused by severe oversteer or understeer conditions.” 2 This breaks down to the prevention of “up to 2,329 crashes, elimination of an estimated 649 to 858 injuries, and avoidance of between 49 and 60 fatalities a year.” 3
For a better understanding of how ESC systems work, check out the video below.
Should electronic stability control systems be required on heavy-duty trucks? Post your answers at http://gsfn.us/t/2vcnv.
Tags: Bendix, CSA scores, Donner Pass, electronic stability control system, ESC, Meritor Wabco, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, road scholar transport, Roll Stability Control, rollover, RSC, tractor-trailer