TORONTO, Ont. — Much like its stance on speed limiters, the Ontario Trucking Association has now thrown its support to the mandatory installation of anti-rollover devices on all new heavy trucks. The major announcement was made at the OTAs annual convention in Toronto in hopes of avoiding another Summer of the Rollover like this past season which saw numerous heavy truck rollovers in a brief span of time. OTA is part of a national effort from the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) to get the North American manufacturers of Class 8 tractors to voluntarily make anti-rollover technology standard equipment in their new vehicle packages as soon as possible.
There are presently three main manufacturers of anti-rollover devices in North America. The technology uses sensors that detect when a vehicle may be reaching a state of instability and will intervene by reducing throttle and applying the brakes on the steer, drive and trailer axles as needed to help the driver regain control and mitigate the potential loss of control or rollover situation.
At the present time, two heavy truck manufacturers have made one of the ant-rollover systems standard equipment on all new Class 8 trucks they sell in North America. The other six manufacturers offer an anti-rollover system as an option.
According to OTA president, David Bradley, there are many reasons for a truck to rollover, including excessive speed on corners, improper load securement, and evasive manoeuvres by a truck driver in response to improper lane changes by another vehicle.
Of course, any stability system cannot prevent all situations and is in no way a replacement for good drivers and good driving practices, he says. However, our members are convinced that the current anti-rollover technology performs well with all types of tractor-trailer configurations and should become part of all standard new vehicle packages.
CTA has written to all of the heavy truck manufacturers asking them to consider doing this voluntarily.
Whether all or some of last summers rollovers were the fault of the truck driver, or more than likely the fault of a car driver who cut off a truck, does not change the fact that our members feel from experience that the truck anti-rollover devices currently available for installation on new tractors can help prevent some of these incidents and is therefore pretty cheap insurance, said Bradley.
A parallel technology, known as Electronic Stability Control or ESC, is also widely used in light-duty vehicles around the world. The US government recently announced that the ESC will be mandatory on all new cars and light trucks by 2011. The Government of Canada is now engaged in consultations to determine whether ESC should also be mandated on light duty vehicles in this country. While neither government has yet made a move to mandate the technology on heavy trucks, regulatory options are being investigated.
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