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Electronic stability control mandate kicks in


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Neil Abt, Fleet Owner  /  August 1, 2017

[German-owned] Bendix urges against any effort to overturn new regulation

A federal mandate requiring nearly all new Classes 7-8 tractors sold in the United States be equipment with electronic stability control (ESC) systems has officially kicked in.

Initially announced in 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated the mandate will save up to 49 lives, prevent up to 1,759 crashes each year, and provide net economic benefits of more than $300 million annually.

Electronic stability control systems use sensors to anticipate possible rollover or loss-of-control events. The rule estimates the technology will add $600 to the cost of a new tractor, though some estimates have been a bit higher.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC [a subsidiary of Germany’s Knorr-Bremse] issued a statement on July 31 in support of electronic stability control, and urged against any efforts to kill the mandate.

“Because the current administration has required elimination of two federal rules for every one added, NHTSA has said the full-stability mandate could be on the chopping block,” said Fred Andersky, Bendix’s director of government and industry affairs.

“While Bendix has always preferred to let the commercial vehicle market decide, this is a case in which a mandated technology will undoubtedly help reduce the incidence of both rollover and loss-of-control crashes. In fact, the market has already recognized this, with all of the major North American heavy-duty truck manufacturers offering electronic stability control as standard on most models,” Andersky added.

Bendix was the first North American brake manufacturer to make full-stability solutions widely available for the commercial vehicle market when it launched its Electronic Stability Program in 2005, and the system has been equipped on more than 500,000 vehicles.

Besides Bendix, American-Belgian joint venture Meritor Wabco also manufacturers an electronic control system known as SmarTrac.

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