Stability control rule: Another billion-dollar mandate?

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Tuesday, July 03, 2012

At $1,160 per truck, the federal government’s proposed rule to require heavy trucks to be equipped with electronic stability control systems would quickly add up to a billion-dollar mandate. OOIDA plans to get that point across during a public hearing July 24 in Washington, DC.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a notice of proposed rulemaking on May 23. If enacted, the rule would require manufacturers to install electronic stability control systems, or ESCs, on vehicles heavier than 26,000 pounds beginning in 2016.

With trucking companies and owner-operators buying approximately 171,000 new trucks each year, a stability rule would cost the industry $1 billion in just five years.

NHTSA has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, July 24, at the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters, West Building Ground Floor, Media Center – Room W11-130, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590. The hearing will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. but could go longer if participation warrants extra time.

OOIDA will be represented at the hearing.

“For professional drivers, safety is the highest priority,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said.

“Safety is by no means assured by adding more gadgets and gizmos to trucks that in the real world environment really just add cost.”

NHTSA states that adding the technology to trucks would help prevent 40-56 percent of “untripped rollovers” and 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes. Untripped rollovers are generally attributed to vehicle top-heaviness, roadway slope, curves and other factors, while loss-of-control rollovers are generally attributed to evasive maneuvers or over-corrections such as over- or under-steering.

Federal regulators are interested in hearing about the potential benefits and problems with electronic stability control as well as cost issues.

OOIDA has stated that driver training and better cab crashworthiness for vehicles would be more effective at saving truckers’ lives than a government mandate for stability control.

To present oral testimony during the hearing, you must sign up 10 days in advance by contacting Christopher Morris, Office of Rulemaking, by email at christopher.morris@dot.gov, by telephone at 202-493-2218, or by fax at 202-366-5930.

See related story:
Feds want stability systems for trucks by 2016

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