Electronic stability control systems may become mandatory in big trucks and buses

The National Highly Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the branch of the Department of Transportation that handles rules for vehicle safety among other things. The NHTSA proposed new rules this week for federal motor vehicle safety standards to require electronic stability control systems on large commercial trucks, motor coaches, and large buses. 
This is the first time ever the standards have been proposed for large vehicles. Smaller passenger vehicles and trucks have electronic stability control systems and other driver assistance features to help prevent accidents, including rollovers. Some large trucks and buses already have stability control systems in place.
According to the NHTSA, its research shows that the required addition of the technology to these larger vehicles could prevent up to 56% of rollover crashes each year. The NHTSA also reports that rollover crashes are the deadliest of all crash types. The addition of stability control systems is also expected to prevent another 14% of loss of control accidents. 
“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,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Today’s proposal is a major step forward to improving the safety of large commercial trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses.”
The NHTSA has performed "extensive" research to determine if available stability control technology would affect crashes involving large commercial vehicles and determined that ESC systems would be the most effective tool to prevent accidents. Electronic stability control systems use a number of sensors to monitor the vehicle movement and steering inputs and then use automatic braking controlled by the computer to prevent rollovers and other out-of-control problems.
According to research estimates, electronic stability control systems on large trucks and buses would prevent up to 2,329 crashes and eliminate an estimated 649 to 858 injuries along with as many as 60 fatalities each year.
“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,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Now, we’re expanding our efforts to require stability enhancing technology on the many large trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses on our roadways.”
The proposed rules are being published in the Federal Register and members of the public will be able to comment for 90 days. The NHTSA is also going to hold a public hearing on the proposed safety standards to solicit public comment, the date and location of that hearing will be announced later. According to the proposed rule, the NHTSA expects about 26% of new truck tractors and 80% of new buses that would be affected by this proposed rule would be equipped with ESC systems in 2012.
The government is also looking to add backup cameras to passenger vehicles to prevent parents from backing over their children due to poor rear visibility in today’s vehicles.

Source: DOT

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