Stable as a Table: NHTSA Makes Commercial Vehicle Electronic Stability Control Systems Mandatory

Georgia is notorious for being host to plenty of tractor trailer accidents, and if you’ve ever come upon one on your travels, you know all too well the damage that these massive vehicles can cause. Rollover accidents in particular can cause an extreme amount of property damage and injury, spilling the truck’s load and exposing motorists to potentially hazardous material.

Rollover accidents can be quite common in the trucking industry. While trucks are extremely efficient and safe in most normal operations under the guidance of an experienced driver, the immense weight and size leaves the vehicle somewhat out of balance. This means that when quick braking or maneuvers are necessary, the truck and trailer can become dangerously unstable, ending in a jackknife or rollover crash that can hurt or kill multiple people.

New Laws Mean Safer Trucks Are Hitting the Roads Soon

A proposed rule has been making its way through the necessary agencies, and on June 3rd of this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a Final Rule regarding electronic stability control systems in trucks and buses with a gross weight over 26,000 pounds.

These electronic stability control, or ESC, systems use automated braking and engine torque control on an individual wheel basis to assist the driver in maintaining control when the vehicle becomes unstable. If the system senses that the truck or bus has lost control and may experience a rollover, the ESC uses selective braking and engine control to maintain stability and prevent a rollover.

This law targets new trucks, not trucks currently on the road, so owners will not be forced to modify their existing fleet. What it does mean, however, is that trucks rolling off the assembly line starting August 1, 2017, will be required to have an ESC system installed.

What Does This Mean for You, the Private Motorist?

Not only will this new rule make the roads safer—NHTSA estimates that these systems could prevent almost 1,800 crashes and save about 49 lives each year—but this added safety will provide about $300 million in savings by preventing the property damages caused by these rollover wrecks.

This new law is a promising step toward a safer commercial trucking industry, and comes at a time when other rules are being delayed and questionable rules are being proposed. Our Augusta truck accident firm will follow these developments closely, and look forward to seeing more progress in the fight for safer roads!