Year after year, nearly 200,000 crashes involving tractor-trailers occur in the US…a whopping average of one crash every three minutes. This factoid was underscored to me this past Thanksgiving weekend as I had the pleasure of participating in a monumental traffic tie-up on the outskirts of Los Angeles when a truck overturned in the middle of a freeway, blocking three of the four inbound lanes.
Now, I didn’t witness the event personally, but the commentator on the traffic channel reported that the truck driver attempted an emergency avoidance manuever, putting the rig into a skid and swatting a few unsuspecting vehicles before turning turtle.
In the 43 minutes I had to inch my way before reaching the relative freedom of normal traffic again, I found myself wondering if perhaps an electronic stability control (ESC) system could have prevented the crash.
ESC uses sensors to detect when a driver is about to lose control and automatically intervenes to provide stability and help the driver maintain the intended course, especially in oversteering and understeering situations.
A number of studies have been conducted testing the effectiveness of ESC, verifying that such systems do in fact work. Five different studies projected a 30%–35% reduction in single-vehicle crashes, thanks to ESC.
ESC incorporates antilock brake and traction control systems that prevent wheel lock when braking and wheel spin when accelerating, incorporating the actions of both systems, acting to counter lateral forces to further reduce the risk of skidding in all driving situations. Simply put, ESC constantly compares the driver’s intention with the vehicle’s actual behavior.
Because deployment of the stability technologies for large trucks has only occurred recently, national crash databases do not yet have a sufficient amount of data on the performance of these technologies. Employing a novel approach to examine the potential benefits of these systems, researchers used national crash databases to select crash scenarios that could likely benefit from the technologies and estimated the probable effectiveness of each. The analysis was based on probable outcome estimates derived from hardware-in-the loop simulation (HiL), field-test experience, expert panel assessment, and fleet crash data.
Findings of the study indicate that stability-control systems provide substantial safety benefits for tractor-semitrailers. If all five-axle tractor-semitrailer vehicles operating on US roads were fitted with ESC, the technology could prevent 4,659 rollover crashes and save an estimated 126 lives. That’s something to consider for your fleet.
Upcomimg Forester University Webinars:
Dec 7th, 2011:
Maximize Your Energy Efficiency and Savings with Lighting Solutions
Stop wasting energy and savings on your lighting! Join Gregory Davis, Chief Technology Officer at Lumetric, Inc. on December 7th at 2p.m. EST to explore lighting efficiency technology as a means to maximize your energy efficiency and increase your savings. We’ll discuss efficiency opportunities, technologies, and applications available in lighting, and compare solutions (e.g., application, maintenance, lifespan, etc.) for your best ROI.
Dec 13th, 2011:
Stormwater Inspection and Maintenance
Don’t get caught in the storm. Join Andrew J. Erickson, M.S., P.E., for Stormwater Inspection & Maintenance on Dec. 13th, a discussion of standardized stormwater inspection methods and performance assessment. Learn how to use these to assess, select, and schedule effective and financially sustainable maintenance on stormwater treatment practices (e.g., stormwater ponds, bioretention facilities, infiltration basins, swales, and filter strips).