Two years after it stunned the industry by announcing its much ballyhooed position on the mandatory use of speed limiters, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) was at it again during this year’s convention. This time, the association was endorsing the mandatory use of anti-rollover technology. And this time, the group’s position is likely to be far less contentious.
Fleets and owner/operators are still divided on the issue of the mandatory use of speed limiters. Almost immediately after announcing the association’s policy, Truck News was flooded with e-mails, phone calls and letters opposing the plan. This time around, there has been no such outcry in response to the association’s position on anti-rollover devices such as electronic stability control systems. And why would there be?
Anyone who has had the chance to test the technology would have difficulty arguing these systems do not reduce the risk of truck rollovers. And considering rollovers are a leading cause of truck driver fatalities, it behooves us as an industry to take advantage of existing technology that can mitigate these incidents.
Volvo has taken a lead in this area, making its Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST) standard on all its Class 8 trucks. It’s a non-deletable option in fact – you get it on new Volvo trucks whether you like it or not. Now the OTA is calling on other manufacturers to follow suit. The only argument that I can muster up against this policy, is that it could potentially drive up the costs of new trucks. Who needs that, when stringent new emissions standards and complicated new engine technologies have already accomplished this in recent years?
But in speaking with Frank Bio, marketing manager with Volvo Trucks North America, there are economies of scale at play that minimize the potential cost increases. When Volvo made VEST standard, the company kept costs in check due to its larger volume purchases and improved efficiencies on assembly lines. So provided the mandatory installation of anti-rollover devices on trucks does not come at a significant cost to customers, I feel this is a policy worth supporting.
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