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New Technology Aims to Prevent Rollovers During Truck Accidents

A recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that if trucks were mandated to be equipped with stability control systems, the U.S. could prevent nearly 3,500 rollover truck accidents and save an estimated 106 lives each year. Researchers found that almost 4,400 injuries a year could be prevented by equipping commercial trucks with stability control systems. This conclusion was based on the tests of stability systems conducted with the help of researchers at the University of Michigan.

Currently, all new passenger vehicles are required to have this type of technology installed but not for commercial vehicles. The NHTSA hopes that these findings on the potential benefits for requiring these systems for tractor trailers will help encourage legislators, both nationally and in Ohio, to require this by the end of the year.

According to their data, about half of truck accidents, involving a truck hauling tank trailers, roll over because they went around a curve too fast which could have been prevented with this technology. Additionally, tank trucks represent a small total (6 percent) of large trucks, but account for 31 percent of all fatal commercial truck accidents involving rollovers. A focus on these types of trucks was made because they are the trucks most used to haul hazardous, explosive or flammable materials.

Stability control systems use sensors that tell the vehicle's computer when weight has shifted or about to shift. The vehicle then automatically corrects it's self by applying brake to one or more of the wheels to compensate until the truck is balanced once more.

According to estimates, adding these systems would roughly cost around $1,200 per vehicle.

Source: Associated Press "NHTSA: New technology can prevent truck rollovers" 08/03/2010

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