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NHTSA turns to technology to reduce truck and bus rollover accidents

Rollover accidents do not occur on the roads as much as other accidents do. However, even though they account for only three percent of all motor vehicle accidents across the nation, they represent 33 percent of fatalities for passenger vehicle occupants, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They are particularly dangerous when trucks or larger vehicles are involved. To address this problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently passed new regulations designed to reduce rollovers in bus and truck accidents.

Agency turns to technological solution

The new regulations call for a technological solution to the rollover problem. Under the regulations, buses and trucks must be installed with electronic stability control (ESC) technology by 2019. ESC reduces the risk of rollovers by detecting when a vehicle loses traction or control. Once this occurs, ESC automatically activates the brakes on specific wheels, assisting the driver in regaining control.

ESC technology may sound familiar to you if you have recently purchased a car, since the NHTSA has required this in new passenger vehicles since 2012. However, up until the present day, it was not required in larger vehicles. If these new regulations were not implemented, the NHTSA estimates that only 33 percent of large trucks and 20 percent of buses would have this type of technology.

When the regulations become fully effective, it is estimated that it will bring a wealth of safety benefits. The NHTSA estimates that they will reduce the number of rollover incidents not initiated by collisions by at least 50 percent. Overall, this will result in an estimated reduction of 1,700 rollover accidents each year, saving at least 649 motorists annually from the catastrophic injuries (and untold number of deaths) that often follow.

According to the NHTSA, the regulations will be implemented in stages between now and 2019. Starting in August 2017, ESC technology must be installed on every new three-axle tractor-trailer. Older heavy trucks and buses will need to have ESC installed at certain intervals, depending on the weight of the vehicle. Unfortunately, this means that the maximum safety benefits will not be achieved until all trucks have the technology in 2019.

If in an accident, get professional advice

Although some rollovers are true "accidents" that are caused by external factors that cannot be avoided, many are caused because the driver or trucking company was negligent. In some cases, speeding, poor maintenance, use of drugs or alcohol, driver fatigue or distraction, or improper loading may be the cause of the rollover.

As the presence of negligence is not always obvious, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible following an accident involving a truck or bus. With over a century in combined experience in helping those injured by negligence in motor vehicle accidents, the law firm of Miller, Rosnick, D'Amico, August & Butler, P.C. is well positioned to evaluate and investigate your claim, ensuring that you receive fair and adequate compensation from the responsible parties.