Electronic stability control to be included on all heavy vehicles

A new rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require all heavy vehicles –  those with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or more – to have electronic steering control (ESC) technology, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Wednesday.

The steering control system automatically maintains directional control when a driver’s steering and braking isn’t fast enough to prevent a crash. Light-duty vehicles have been required to have the ESC technology since 2012, with encouraging results.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended ESC be available on heavy-duty vehicles since 2011. That recommendation can now be a reality for the largest vehicles on the highway– long-haul trucks and motorcoaches. The new rule will apply to vehicles manufactured after Aug. 1, 2017.

“ESC is a remarkable safety success story, a technology innovation that is already saving lives in passenger cars and light trucks,” Foxx said. “Requiring ESC on heavy trucks and large buses will bring that safety innovation to the largest vehicles on our highways, increasing safety for drivers and passengers of these vehicles and for all road users.”

NHTSA estimates the move will prevent approximately 1,700 crashes, 650 injuries and 50 fatalities on the road each year. The agency expects the ESC rule to prevent up to 56 percent of rollover crashes that aren’t caused by striking an obstacle or leaving the road.

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