New Electronic Stability System for Semi-Trucks and Buses Could Prevent Roll Over Accidents

DOT proposes electronic stability systems on trucks, buses to prevent rollover accidents
By Keith Laing – 05/16/12 05:42 PM ET

The Department of Transportation is proposing a new rule that would require large trucks and buses to have electronic stability control systems on board to help prevent accidents where they roll over.

DOT said Wednesday that the ESC systems could prevent 56 percent of crashes that involve a truck or bus rolling over, and 14 percent of accidents where a truck or bus driver loses control behind the wheel.

“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,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement announcing the new proposal. “Today’s proposal is a major step forward to improving the safety of large commercial trucks, motorcoaches and other large buses.”

The DOT’s proposal will have to be reviewed for 90 days, and the agency said a public hearing will be held by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which will enforce the new requirement if the rule is finalized.

The Arlington, Va.-based American Trucking Association’s American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) said last month that it had identified the most likely locations of rollover truck accidents in an effort to reduce them itself.

“This research is not only important to the trucking industry, as it informs drivers of potentially dangerous locations, but it should also jumpstart the dialogue between industry and government to work together to improve safety at these sites,” Vice President of Safety Policy and Regulatory Relations for ATRI member Groendyke Transport, Steve Niswander said in a statement.

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said the electronic systems proposed by DOT would improve safety even further.

“We’ve already seen how effective stability control can be at reducing rollovers in passenger vehicles — the ability for this type of technology to save lives is one reason it is required on cars and light-duty trucks beginning with model year 2012,” Strickland said in a statement Wednesday. “Now, we’re expanding our efforts to require stability enhancing technology on the many large trucks, motorcoaches and other large buses on our roadways.”