NHTSA Rule to Require Electronic Stability Control Technology in Big Trucks, Buses

Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012

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Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a new requirement for 18 wheelers and buses to be equipped with electronic stability control systems to help mitigate rollover accidents. However, truck manufacturers are pushing back arguing that the requirement is burdensome and simply too costly.

On May 16, 2012, the NHTSA announced its proposed rule to mandate all heavy trucks and big buses to install stability control systems in their vehicles within the next 2-4 years. The new electronic systems will help utilize computer controlled braking to help drivers maintain control of the vehicle, keep the vehicle's wheels on the ground and trailers from swinging, and avoid rollovers.

The NHTSA says that the technology is important - rollover truck accidents result in 700 deaths every year. The agency also says that stability control systems have been effective in reducing the number of rollovers in passenger vehicles.

However, truck manufacturers are saying the requirement is too extreme and costly and go beyond what many truckers are likely to encounter. An executive with Navistar International Corp, in particular, argues that Navistar would have to build a multi-million dollar facility just to conduct the testing.

But NHTSA concludes that the electronic stability control systems will cost a little over $1000 per truck to install. Not only that, the technology will save lives. Agency researchers note that the initiative could prevent over 2,300 crashes every year and as many as 49 to 60 fatalities.

A spokeswoman with the NHTSA, however, said that the agency will listen and consider all viewpoints during the public comment period before determining the final requirements for the electronic stability control technology.

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

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