When a truck accident occurs the stakes are high. Because of greater mass, motor vehicle accidents that involve commercial trucks have a greater risk of injury or death. The greater risk of injury in an accident is one reason why the trucking industry is regulated. Recently, federal regulators have focused on the reduction of truck accidents and injury by focusing on safety systems.
In May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed to require heavy, commercial truck and buses to have electronic stability control systems within two to four years. According to the agency, rollover accidents involving heavy, commercial vehicles are responsible for 700 fatalities a year. However, the trucking industry is pushing back against the proposed requirement arguing that in compared to the risk, the technology will cost too much.
Electronic stability control uses the torque of the engine and computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to help drivers maintain control. The system helps keep wheels on the pavement and trailers from swinging. The average cost to add electronic stability control to a truck is around $1,160.
The NHTSA's basis for proposing the requirement is that the systems have worked well in passenger cars by reducing the number of rollover accidents involving cars and SUVs. A trucking industry representative questions the federal agency's logic. The representative is not convinced that electronic stability control will be as easy to implement or effective in the commercial trucking world. He argues the many different combinations of wheel bases, axles, brakes, tires and suspensions will make the systems more expensive and difficult to test.
However, the industry is in favor of the anti-rollover technology mandate, but just not the expensive, electronic stability control system. The industry favors a less expensive technology called roll stability control.
Source: Bloomberg News, "Truck Makers Push Back on U.S. Rollover-Technology Rule," Jeff Plungis, July 26, 2012
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