Research completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that electronic stability control (ESC) systems can help prevent fatal truck rollover accidents and limit the number of truck crashes caused by a driver's loss of control. The NHTSA estimates that equipping commercial trucks with ESC systems could save more than 50 lives each year, prevent nearly 700 injuries and avoid over 2,000 truck accidents.
ESC systems use computer-controlled braking to minimize rollovers of large commercial trucks. ESC systems also address driver error as a factor in truck crashes by minimizing understeering and oversteering problems that can result in a loss of control of the truck.
The technology has already been proven effective at saving lives in passenger vehicles. All cars and light trucks from model year 2012 going forward are required to come equipped with an ESC system. "The Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have long recognized the potential impact of stability control technology in reducing deaths and serious injuries that result from rollover crashes," noted Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
"We're expanding our efforts to require stability enhancing technology on the many large trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses on our roadways," commented NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
ESC technology is already available for commercial vehicles; however, it is not currently required by federal motor vehicle safety standards. The Notice of Rulemaking regarding ESC systems in commercial vehicles is being published in the Federal Register. There will be a 90 day comment period open for anyone interested in the proposed safety requirement.
The NHTSA estimates that ESC systems will become mandatory on all commercial vehicles within two to four years from the date the final rule is determined.
Source: NHTSA, "USDOT Proposes Groundbreaking Rule to Prevent Rollover Crashes for Nation's Large Trucks, Buses," May 16, 2012