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Truck industry reacts to NHTSA anti-rollover proposal

New requirements for anti-rollover systems in trucks are being opposed by American truck manufacturers, saying the regulations create millions of dollars in extra expenses to implement a rollover prevention system that probably won’t significantly cut down on truck crash rates.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration begs to differ, arguing that electronic stability controls in heavy-duty buses and trucks could prevent some of the 700 fatalities suffered every year due to rollover accidents in Ohio and across the country. The organization proposed rules earlier this year that would require manufacturers to be in compliance with the regulations within two to four years.

Although the manufacturers were impressed by the technology that has been developed, they also noted that the road test used to approve the stability controls was far more extreme than what many truckers would experience while operating their vehicle, rendering some of its functionality useless. And the truck accident test alone would require so much space that a multi-million-dollar facility would have to be constructed in order to host the test.

Ohio is currently the U.S. base for a German company whose electronic stability control technology is at the center of the new regulations proposal. Truck manufacturers are in favor of an alternative solution that will reduce the cost of implementing anti-rollover technology, which currently stands to cost an average of $1,160 per vehicle.

The technology works by utilizing engine torque and computer-controlled braking to keep the vehicle under control and upright in potential rollover scenarios. According to the NHTSA, stability control systems have already proven themselves effective when installed in cars and sport utility vehicles.

Source: The Detroit News, “Truck makers push back on U.S. rollover-technology rule,” Jeff Plungis, July 26, 2012