Should anti-rollover systems be required on heavy-duty trucks?

Can you imagine a world without trucks? While many would likely welcome fewer vehicles on the road, few would probably want to live without the many goods their use makes conveniently available for us all. That said, all would probably be happy if the number of truck accidents on New Jersey roads would decrease.

In an effort to prevent roll-over truck accidents the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently proposed the inclusion of electronic stability control in trucks considered to be heavy-duty. The description of heavy-duty trucks encompasses many different truck designs, and buses are also included in the proposal.

The idea behind the proposed rule is to reduce the number of fatalities that occur due to trucks rolling over in accidents. The NHTSA indicates that 700 deaths occur due to these types of accidents each year.

United States based manufactures of trucks have not responded well to the proposed rule and have requested the proposed requirement be modified so that it is not so stringent. There are several reasons for this. First, the manufacturers point out how difficult it would be to test the technology once installed in trucks. As no adequate facility currently exists, a new one would have to be constructed.

Next, truck manufactures point out that any testing that would be done of the technology in trucks would be much more extreme than what a truck routinely encounters. This would essentially make the testing of the system a waste of money.

Last, in addition to an expense related to the installation of the system, actually getting it in the trucks could be difficult. This is due to the aforementioned many different models of trucks that would be included in the heavy-duty description.

Whether the proposed rule will ultimately be adopted remains to be seen. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Source: Bloomberg News, "Truck makers push back on U.S. rollover-technology rule," Jeff Plungis, July 26, 2012

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