Electronic Stability Control Now Required on Trucks and Buses

Author: P. Christopher Guedri, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Americans consistently rate the safety and quality of their car as one of the most influential factors when deciding which model to purchase, and recent decades have seen enormous advances in safety equipment and systems.[1] Anti-lock brakes, side airbags, and stronger, more absorbent chassis have all played a role in making our roads less dangerous than before. Out of all these advances, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) has distinguished itself as perhaps the single most beneficial safety system added to our cars.

Growing from the same technology and system as anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) senses the beginning of a slide and automatically applies a precise amount of braking to each individual wheel, bringing the vehicle back under control. A slide can be the result of an oversteer, where the front tires have too much traction and drag the back wheels into a slide, or an understeer, where lack of traction causes the car to be pushed straight forward by the rear wheels, even though the front tires are in a turning position. Regardless of what goes wrong, a stability control system can prevent a deadly situation by returning control to the driver through an amazingly precise series of measurements and adjustments coordinated by the car’s central computer.[2]

The effectiveness of these systems has been the subject of many studies, and the results are overwhelming. Experts believe that a vehicle equipped with Electronic Stability Control is 25% less likely to be involved in a fatal accident. The introduction of this safety system has the potential to prevent hundreds of tragic deaths every year. ESC also prevents roughly 56% of rollover crashes and 14% of loss of control crashes.[3]

In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) took a major step forward by requiring ESC as a standard feature on all heavy trucks and large buses. These large, heavy vehicles are prone to sliding, and the accidents they cause are often very serious. They stand to benefit enormously from using this technology. NHTSA estimates that the new requirements will provide economic benefits of $300 million per year while preventing more than 1,500 crashes and 600 serious injuries, as well as saving at least fifty lives.[4]

Nothing is more important than safety, and Electronic Stability Control is one tangible step toward making our roads better and safer. The continuing implementation of this technology, particularly in the largest and most dangerous vehicles we encounter, should help assist drivers as they keep themselves safe on the road.

About The Author: Chris Guedri was named "Lawyer of the Year 2015" by Best Lawyers in America for Personal Injury-Plaintiffs in Richmond, VA. He  has more than 30 years of experience and is a trial attorney and partner with the law firm of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen.

[1] http://ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=5435

[2] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/safety-regulatory-devices/electronic-stability-control.htm

[3] http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/electronic-stability-control.html

[4] http://www.transportation.gov/fastlane/electronic-stability-control-promises-safety

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