Large commercial trucks are essential to modern commerce – but they come with a price. Every year, thousands of motorists are injured or killed in semi truck crashes.
Efforts to reduce truck accidents are constantly evolving. One proposal with a bright outlook could require trucking firms to adopt an innovative new safety technology with vast lifesaving potential: electronic stability control systems.
Electronic stability control systems utilize a series of sensors to detect and automatically correct input problems in motor vehicles. Stability control systems have proven highly effective at reducing rollover and loss of control crashes.
Both rollovers and loss of control accidents are serious threats for large commercial trucks, considering their substantial weight and lack of maneuverability. Recognizing the danger, many trucking firms are already voluntarily outfitting their fleets with stability control systems. In fact, the technology has nearly become standard equipment for notoriously ungainly tank trucks.
Yet, despite the proven safety benefits, stability control is standard on only about 26 percent of new semi trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has plans in the works to increase that number significantly.
A proposed regulation from the NHTSA would mandate stability control systems for all large commercial trucks. On May 4, 2012 the regulation cleared review by the White House Office of Management and Budget, one of the last steps before final publication.
Although many trucking organizations have spoken out in favor of the stability control proposal, some owner operators groups have concerns that it could be prohibitively expensive. The mandate is estimated to cost the trucking industry up to $107 million in annual upfront costs.
However, in the long term, universalizing stability control systems would save trucking companies as much as $372 million from preventing property damage and travel delays alone. In addition, the NHTSA estimates that their proposal would save 66 lives and prevent nearly 1,000 injuries every year, certainly nothing to sneeze at.
Electronic stability control systems are hugely beneficial to roadway safety. Even if the NHTSA mandate does not come into play, trucking companies that fail to use stability control put themselves at higher risk of liability.
When a trucker makes a mistake behind the wheel, the consequences can be grave; stability control can correct some of these mistakes before they turn deadly. But, when a stability control system is not in place, there is no safety net for negligent truckers.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, or if a family member has been killed, you have a right to compensation from at-fault parties. Contact a truck accident lawyer today for help with your case.