New regulations were proposed last May concerning the installation of anti-rollover systems in buses and heavy duty trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that rollover accidents cause roughly 700 traffic deaths per year. NHTSA researchers estimated that electronic stability control systems would prevent thousands of crashes and between 49 and 60 fatalities every year. The regulations called for the installation of these devices with two to four years. Truck makers are now pushing back and requesting that the requirements for meeting the new standard be scaled back.
Part of the problem, according to the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, is that the NHTSA’s road test for establishing qualifying anti-rollover systems is based on similar tests for passenger vehicles. Cars and SUVs are already required to have electronic stability control systems. The NHTSA has indicated that the installation of those devices has been effective in reducing rollovers for those vehicles. Truck manufacturers contend that the tests devised will require technology that prevents accidents in circumstances that truck drivers never face.
The NHTSA has estimated that the required electronic stability control systems will cost an average of $1,160 per truck to install. Truck manufacturers claim that other, less expensive forms of roll stability control systems should suffice. The engineering director of the American Trucking Associations suggested that the NHTSA should be using a test that can be passed by vehicles with roll stability control systems other than the highly expensive electronic stability control systems. Truck makers would then be free to choose which form of anti-rollover technology they chose.
The comments of truck industry insiders were received at a public hearing of the NHTSA. Those comments will now be considered before a final standard regarding anti-rollover technology is released, according to a spokeswoman for the agency.
Source: The Detroit News, “Truck makers push back on U.S. rollover-technology rule,” by Jeff Plungis, 26 July 2012