Government orders stability control systems for all heavy trucks and buses

Government orders stability control systems for all heavy trucks and buses

Truck 3d wireframeVehicle rollovers are often deadly. According to a recent study by Consumer Reports, rollovers account for almost one in three fatal accidents on the road. Heavier vehicles are more susceptible to rollovers than small passenger cars. A single miscalculation while driving a truck or bus can kill in just a few seconds, as any transportation lawyer in Chicago knows.

New regulations imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are designed to reduce the frequency of these tragic crashes. Starting in June 2017, all large buses and heavy trucks must use electronic stability control technology.

Why are heavy vehicles more prone to rollover crashes?

All vehicles, even low-slung sports cars, will turn over if they are subjected to forces they cannot handle. Larger and taller vehicles are at a greater risk of rollover because their center of gravity is higher. A top-heavy vehicle is more likely to lose balance and go out of control. Once the rollover process has started, the driver is usually powerless to stop it. If the vehicle is carrying dangerous goods or a large group of passengers, multiple fatalities may result.

Are rollovers preventable?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 7,067 drivers and passengers were victims of fatal rollover crashes during 2013. Almost all of these crashes can be traced to one or more of the following factors:

  • Excessively sharp turns
  • Overcorrection
  • Striking an obstacle
  • Drifting onto the shoulder

Stability control technology can help prevent rollovers in all of these situations.

Stability systems help heavy vehicles stay on the road

NHTSA officials have recommended electronic stability control for all heavy vehicles since 2011. Stability control has been used widely in cars and light trucks since 2012, as every transportation lawyer in Chicago is aware. The new ruling extends this technology to the vehicles that need it most urgently. According to recent NHTSA estimates, the rule will prevent approximately 1,700 accidents and save up to 50 lives each year.

Which vehicles qualify as heavy?

The new NHTSA regulations apply to all buses and trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds. This weight includes cargo and passengers. Nearly all large commercial vehicles will be affected by the ruling.

When do the new requirements take effect?

The new requirements take effect in June 2017, two years after the announcement of the final ruling. This delay is intended to let heavy vehicle operators install the appropriate equipment and comply with the updated regulations.

Operating a large vehicle can be a risky business. Commercial drivers should speak with a transportation lawyer in Chicago to find out more about new regulations.

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