Last May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on heavy-duty trucks (GVW greater than 26,000 lbs) with a manufacturing year of 2016 (when the requirement would go into affect) and onward.
Although stability control systems are not a requirement as of yet, over the years more and more truck manufacturers and carriers, such as Road Scholar Transport, utilize the systems to prevent rollovers due to unpreventable icy and wet weather conditions and to increase safety on the road, and with stricter regulations, are being utilized to help improve a company’s CSA scores
At a hearing conducted by the NHTSA last Tuesday, attendees both expressed their support as well as concerns towards ESC systems.
Bendix, who has been commercially manufacturing ESC systems since 2005, supports the proposal. “It is the one stability technology that, in our expert opinion, delivers the performance needed to help commercial vehicle drivers mitigate both rollover and loss-of-control situations,” Bendix’s Fred Andersky states.1
In fact, according to the NHTSA, stability control systems “would help prevent 40-56 percent of untripped rollovers and 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes.” 2
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.
Bendix directed their support towards the ESC system over the RSC due to “Extensive research and development – along with over seven years of solid customer experience.”1 In addition, ESC’s provide an additional two sensors over RSC’s (which lead to sooner detection), provides greater braking power, and, according to NHTSA, has a 6-7% greater effectiveness overall.1
But with all regulations comes concerns.
The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) explained that the cost of installing the devices could prevent companies from adding newer trucks, costing around $1160 per truck and the industry nearly $1 billion within 5 years.2
In addition, attendees at Tuesday’s hearing stressed concern over the certification process noting that the proposal would “put trucks through high-speed maneuvers that can only be done at one facility in the country” and can damage the truck.3
And although Bendix encourages ESC systems over RSC, the American Trucking Associations explains that although ESC has proven its effectiveness over RSC, there needs to be flexibility since “one size does not fit all.”3
The comment period will end on August 21.
For a better understanding of how ESC systems work, check out the video below.
Should stability control systems be required on heavy-duty trucks? If so, do you prefer the Roll Stability Control (RSC) or Electronic Stability Control (ESC)? List your comments below.