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New Requirement: Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

“The U.S. Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Wednesday it has finalized rules requiring electronic stability control (ESC) systems on new commercial trucks and large buses.

“The regulations require the systems on Class 6-8 trucks plus large buses exceeding 26,000 pounds in gross weight.

“Compliance will be evaluated using a “j-turn” test that replicates a curved highway off-ramp.

“The rules will take effect for most heavy trucks two years from publication of the regulations while some of the largest buses will have longer to comply.

“Canada is expected to adopt similar regulations.

“A rule requiring light-duty vehicles to include ESC took effect in 2012.”

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“The technology uses engine torque and computer-controlled braking to help truckers maintain control in emergencies by keeping the wheels on the ground and the trailers from swinging. The regulatory requirement, proposed in 2012, is estimated to cost $585 per truck, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The final regulation mostly targets rollover crashes caused by driver error in steering large trucks, particularly on sharp curves and exit ramps. Though they accounted for 3.3 percent of all large-truck crashes, rollovers were responsible for more than half the deaths of drivers and occupants in 2012, the latest available data. Some buses also are affected by the rule.

“Reducing crashes through ESC in these trucks and buses will save lives,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said. “It will move goods and people more efficiently and reduce the toll crashes take on our economy through traffic delays and property damage.”

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