Commercial truckers ply Maryland highways non-stop and with loads ranging from produce and retail goods to animals and hazardous materials. The sheer volume of commercial trucks on state roads results, predictably, in a large number of truck accidents, many of them rollovers with fatal consequences.
The National Highways Traffic Safety Administration "(NHTSA") has been taking a hard look at that sobering reality, and agency officials think they might have a solution to mitigate it.
Namely, the NHTSA points to stability control systems that have already been operating for more than five years with measurable success on tractor trailer vehicles. These systems are not yet required for use in commercial trucks, but the NHTSA hopes that after some additional testing, they will be.
The agency recently finished a stabilizer study in conjunction with the University of Michigan, and NHTSA officials are very optimistic about the results, calling the system "a really powerful technology." Study statistics indicate that, with employment of the system in all commercial trucks across the country, nearly 3,500 rollover accidents could be prevented annually. Moreover, more than 100 deaths and 4,440 injuries could be avoided.
The cost to install a stability control system into an existing truck would be about $1,200. It would cost about $1,000 to incorporate a system into a new truck. The system uses sensors that work in tandem with a truck's onboard computer. When cargo starts shifting in any undue way, the sensors instruct the computer to apply brakes only to the tires that best combat the shift and restore proper balance.
The NHTSA expects final stability studies to be concluded before the end of the year.
Related Resource: www.kansas.com "NHTSA: New technology can prevent truck rollovers" August 3, 2010