Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed that all heavy duty trucks and buses be required to be equipped with electronic stability control technology. This would protect against truck accidents, mainly rollovers. About 700 such accidents resulting in fatalities happen every year.

The trucking industry is not particularly keen on the idea, even though they appreciate the effort to help with safety, mainly because of the expense involved. Such systems are not cheap, and some believe that a less expensive form of the system would work just as well.

Here’s how it would work: Electronic stability control systems use engine torque and computer-controlled braking of the truck’s individual wheels. This would help a driver maintain control in the event of an emergency, helping keep the wheels on the ground. The trailer would also be prevented from swinging back and forth.

The NHTSA proposed that all commercial trucks be equipped with the technology in two to four years. Aside from the cost involved, which could amount to over $1,100 per vehicle, truck manufacturers also think that the stability control road test would go beyond what most truckers would experience while driving the vehicles.

The American Trucking Association does support the proposed mandate, although one of its officers says that the NHTSA should take note of the fact that many trucking companies are already investing in related safety technology that could prevent accidents, such as roll stability control systems.

Source: Detroit News, “Truck makers push back on U.S. rollover technology rule,” Jeff Plungis, July 26, 2012

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