Stability control was made mandatory on passenger vehicles for this current model year, but it's still not a requirement for semis and busses. But that could soon be changing, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed requiring the technology on all new large commercial trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses.

While big rigs and their brethren are often available with stability control, the rule would make the feature standard, with manufacturers given between two and four years to comply. NHTSA says the change in policy could save about 50 lives a year, and prevent over 2,300 crashes. Further, research into the effectiveness of stability control systems in preventing rollover crashes shows that over half of all such accidents could be prevented by adopting it.

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USDOT Proposes Groundbreaking Rule to Prevent Rollover Crashes for Nation's Large Trucks, Buses

New Federal Safety Standard Could Prevent More than Half of Rollovers, Help Maintain Steering Control for Large Commercial Vehicles


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard to require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on large commercial trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses for the first time ever. Agency research shows the technology could prevent up to 56 percent of rollover crashes each year-the deadliest among all crash types-and another 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes.

"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."

An extensive NHTSA research program to determine how available stability control technologies affect crashes involving commercial vehicles found ESC systems to be the most effective tool for reducing the propensity for heavy vehicles to rollover or lose control. With sensors that monitor vehicle movement and steering, ESC can help mitigate rollover incidents by using automatic computer-controlled braking, and also aid the driver in addressing severe understeer or oversteer conditions that can lead to loss of control. NHTSA estimates that a standard requiring ESC on the nation's large trucks and large buses would prevent up to 2,329 crashes, eliminate an estimated 649 to 858 injuries, and prevent between 49 and 60 fatalities a 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."

While many truck tractors and large buses can currently be ordered with this technology, the proposed standard would require ESC systems as standard equipment on these types of vehicles. As proposed, the rule would take effect between two and four years after the standard is finalized, depending on the type of vehicle.

The agency's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is being published in the Federal Register and members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposal for 90 days. NHTSA will also hold a public hearing on the proposed safety standard to solicit further public comment-the date and location of that hearing will be published in the coming weeks.


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  • 27 Comments
      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd be curious to see how exactly the system works. Having an air-braked trailer means it can't exactly work the same way a normal stability control system can (sensing slip and modulating brakes side-to-side). I'm guessing the system only works for the truck and not the trailer, but then I'd be curious to see how effective it is, as it's the trailer that usually causes the problems (flipping, fishtailing, or skidding and taking the truck with it).
        David
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        Air is just another medium like hydraulic fluid! I doesn't compress as well but the systems work in much the same way. The systems on truck with pneumatic brakes work in the same way as passenger cars in sensing slip and yaw. There is a system produced for trailers. If the trailer does not have its own system the tractor system will control the trailer. Both systems have been available to truck and trailers for a number of years now! Many progressive also run collision avoidance systems as well!
      desinerd1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why not build self driving trucks instead?
      truckkiddd
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yet another mult-million dollar rule to save a mere 50-60 lives. This is almost as bad as the mandatory rear back up camera.
        The Ed
        • 3 Years Ago
        @truckkiddd
        ...you've gotta be kidding.
        Steve Miller
        • 3 Years Ago
        @truckkiddd
        "mere 50-60 lives" Spoken like true Teabagger. If it kills that many then how many are injured and have multi millions in injuries? How many jobs are created building these lifesaving devices?
          caddy-v
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Steve Miller
          "Teabagger?????????????" Spoken like a true blue liberal nut bag from the party that supports and encourages abortion and late term abortion which is responsible for the murder of millions of lives. So what's a mere 50-60 deaths on the highway?
          Quen47
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Steve Miller
          @caddy-v Way to be the d-bag that brings it into non-car related territory. Abortion debates have absolutely no place in this forum. Period.
          graphikzking
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Steve Miller
          You know you are 10 times more likely to die driving 55mph than driving 25 mph. Why not just lower ALL speed limits to 25 mph? Then we will save 90% of the deaths. We will also increase the number of gas stations needed because we will fill up more. We will increase the number of high paying refinery jobs because we will need more fuel. Our cars will need more maintenance since they sit and run for longer periods of time. Our air quality will be worse so we will buy more air filters / and more air purifiers. Wow - I just created 100's of thousands of jobs! SWEET and saved 90% of the highway traffic deaths. Do you see how silly this is? I understand we can't put a cost on lives, but honestly I think that trucks stay in service for 10+ years so you will see ZERO changes for the next 14 years anyway. If we decreased the weight of the truck by 10% thus carry more payload without any more risk of injury - this would help the drivers make more money while driving the same or less hours. They would be more alert and cause less accidents. It would also increase their fuel economy on empty runs. Win win win.
        Kronos
        • 3 Years Ago
        @truckkiddd
        How many semis jackknife each day in the US and what is the associated cost in traffic delay, damages, injuries? I agree that this shouldn't go through if it's not a net benefit. But I suspect it will be - and in a big way, beyond the savings of (a not insignificant) 50 lives per year.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @truckkiddd
        [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
        gnvlscdt23f
        • 3 Years Ago
        @truckkiddd
        I notice you've conveniently not mentioned some 2,300 crashes a year and all the taxpayer money needed to pay law enforcement to work such wrecks.
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds good to me. No reason the rules shouldn't apply equally to all those who travel public freeways.
      Jerry Hightower
      • 3 Years Ago
      No need to worry. We'll be paying for any mandatory truck improvements through higher consumer prices.
        snap_understeer_ftw
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jerry Hightower
        same thing goes for cars
        Sir Duke
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jerry Hightower
        Jerry: It really irks me that folks like you sit around looking for something to whine about. Remember the prone to rollover Ford Explorer and other SUVs? You think the families of all those DEAD or seriously maimed people wished that the government had mandated stability control sooner? I'm going to go a bit off topic to make my point. Back in the 70s when Yaseer Arafat and his band of mal-contents hijacked dozens of jetliners and blew them up in the Jordanian desert. Not a single aircraft manufacturer took that as a lesson, to install a simple bullet proof bulkhead and lockable door to the cockpit. Had they done that, September 11, 2001 would not have been possible. So, the government didn't mandate the locked bullet-proofed cockpit, and NONE of them did. Big Rigs should have been the first vehicles on the roads to get stability control.
          johnbravo6
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Sir Duke
          A) Boxcutters. B) Shut up. Just shut up. Quit forcing your pathetic lifestyle on everyone else. No one's buying this nonsense anymore.
      Bill Waller
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bureaucracy run amok. It would seem that the NHTSA has run out of major safety concerns that truly needed addressing, and instead keeps throwing out proposals that address insignificant issues to make it look like they still serve an important function. There are over 2.5 million large trucks on the road (as estimated by the American Trucking Association). It would seem to me that the deaths, injuries, crashes, and cost incurred this would avert, is statistically insignificant when weighed against the true need or added expense.
      willyk52
      • 3 Years Ago
      buses should also have lane departure warning l - considering the miles driven, the number of passengers, the tired drivers and the frequency and severity of bus accidents, money well spent.
        George Lupică
        • 3 Years Ago
        @willyk52
        That actually sounds like a more reasonable choice than stability control.
      bauhaus
      • 3 Years Ago
      Please. The plural of "bus" is "buses." "Busses" is either the plural of "buss" (a kiss) or the third-person singular present form of the verb "to buss" (to kiss).
        Quen47
        • 3 Years Ago
        @bauhaus
        Busses is also correct, albeit more common in British English than American English.
          who_the
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Quen47
          Correct. But consistency should be the goal. Using both spellings in a single article — then never fixing it — is sloppy copy by any definition.
      graphikzking
      • 3 Years Ago
      Next the government will force insurance companies to give a discount to any truckers with stability control on their rigs - what the government won't tell you is that they will raise their original rates across the board for ALL truckers to make up for this discount.
      TrueDat
      • 3 Years Ago
      if the federal government actually cared about saving lives (which they don't) they would ban tobacco and alcohol and mandate portion control in all restaurants and grocery stores.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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