The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a proposed rulemaking on May 23 that would require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on heavy-duty vehicles weighing more than 26,000 lbs. According to DOT, requiring ESC systems on tractor-trailers and large buses would prevent 40%-56% of untripped rollover crashes and 14% of loss-of-control crashes. In total, NHTSA and DOT estimate 1,807-2,329 fewer crashes, 649-858 fewer injuries, and 49-60 fewer fatalities would occur every year with such a standard in place.
Untripped rollovers and loss-of-control crashes due to understeer or oversteer conditions are common occurrences for heavy vehicles. Although there currently are no ESC requirements for heavy-duty vehicles, 26% of new tractor-trailers and 80% of new buses above the 26,000-lb. mark will already have these systems. ESC includes all of the functions of roll stability control (RSC) systems, which are also currently being built for heavy vehicles, but ESC also mitigates severe understeer and oversteer conditions by balancing brake force throughout the wheels of the vehicle. NHTSA has conducted studies on crashes involving heavy-duty vehicles since 2006 and its findings suggest ESC could have a major impact on reducing these expensive and potentially fatal accidents.
Submit comments on the proposed rulemaking through www.regulations.gov [DOT Docket Number NHTSA-2012-0065] by Aug. 21, 2012
The notice of proposed rulemaking can be found by clicking here.