Officials at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC said they are encouraged by the Canadian Trucking Alliance’s (CTA) recent announcement that it has asked all major North American heavy truck OEMs to make stability technology standard on all new commercial power vehicles.
The CTA recommendation is a powerful statement regarding the value of stability technology to help mitigate rollover incidents for fleets and is a strong first step in helping to improve safety on Canadian highways. However, Bendix believes the action doesn’t go far enough and has urged the CTA to revise its position to include a preference for full-stability technology. Bendix continues to advocate for the protection provided by full-stability technology, commonly referred to as electronic stability control (ESC), and believes it should be the standard for all new commercial vehicles as it currently is on many OE tractor nameplates.
Bendix says full-stability technology is more comprehensive than roll-only stability options the CTA recommends. It says that unlike roll-only stability systems that impact select rollover situations, full-stability systems address both roll and directional stability. While roll-only options function optimally on dry surfaces, full-stability systems recognize and mitigate conditions that could lead to rollover and loss-of-control situations in a wide range of driving and road conditions, including wet, snow and ice-covered surfaces.
“We applaud the Canadian Trucking Alliance for taking a position on this important issue,” said Joe McAleese, Bendix president and CEO. “We also welcome the opportunity to partner with the CTA in recommending full-stability technology as the standard and the best means to making our highways safer. It has long been the Bendix mission to improve highway safety. We will continue to advocate for the use of the advanced safety technologies - such as electronic stability control - that help mitigate accidents.”
Bendix has continuously supported the study and adoption of electronic stability control for commercial vehicles. Just last year, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated full-stability technology for passenger vehicles made after 2009. The Bendix ESP system makes the same type of technology available today for commercial vehicles such as tractor-trailers and vocational vehicles. Bendix is actively working to educate the industry about the differences between full-stability and roll-only systems, as well as the advantages full-stability systems can deliver. In fact, the European Union (EU) recently approved a mandate for full-stability technology for commercial vehicles effective beginning in 2009.
While no stability system can compensate for less-than-safe driving practices or override the laws of physics, full-stability systems automatically intervene in many types of dangerous and threatening situations by de-throttling the engine and selectively applying the vehicle brakes to decrease incident risk and loss of control. According to the March 2006 Report to Congress on the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, an estimated 28.6 percent of commercial vehicle accidents are caused by a “loss-of-control factor,” which can include sliding or skidding on wet, snow, or ice-covered surfaces - situations that only full-stability systems are equipped to address.