Study says RSC Systems Better, Less Expensive Than ESC

ARLINGTON, VA. — Rollover Stability Control (RSC) technology may be more effective at reducing rollover, jackknife and tow/stuck crashes, and less expensive, than Electronic Stability Control (ESC) technology, according to a new study released by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

In May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a new federal motor vehicle standard that would require all new truck tractors with a GVW over 26,000 pounds to install ESCs.

The study contradicts many previous findings on the two roll stability technologies, (including NHTSA’s) and, says the ATRI, is the first comparative analysis on Roll Stability Systems (RSS) that is based on actual truck crash data from carriers.

The study sample included a total of 135,712 trucks, 68,647 of those trucks were equipped with RSC, 39,529 with ESC, and 27,536 with no RSS technology.

Trucks equipped with RSC had a lower average crash rate than trucks equipped with ESC (Compared to trucks with no stability systems, RSC had a 60 percent lower rollover crash rate, ESC showed a 47 percent lower rollover crash, per 100 million miles.)

RSC and ESC had similair results for jackknife crashes.

ATRI calculated the average cost that carriers are paying per mile for each crash type on RSC, ESC and no RSS equipped trucks:


                               Rollover       Jacknife

RSC                         $3.77           $0.54

ESC                         $4.58           $0.45

No RSS                    $9.58           $2.67

In terms of the costs of the systems, ATRI reported that ESC technology was 152.8 percent higher than RSC. On average, ESC system cost was $1,180.88 and RSC was $467.18.

Taken altogether (crash cost, crash rate, and system cost), RSC systems generate a quicker return on investment (ROI), the study said. A truck with RSC would get ROI after 58,842 miles while a truck with ESC would get ROI after 169,101.

If the calculations derived from the sample are consistent with the industry as a whole, the report said, then industry-wide installation of RSC would result in fewer rollover, jackknife and tow/stuck crashes compared to an industry-wide installation of ESC.

The report says that to fully understand the impact of RSS systems on the industry, further research using operational truck data is recommended.

The finding that RSC equipped trucks experienced less crashes than ESC warrants further exploration, the report said, noting that ESC provides additional safety deceleration functionality. “Likely, additional variables, beyond the type of RSS utlilized, account for a portion of the difference in safety performance between fleets,” the report explains. “For instance, early adopters of anti-rollover technology had only RSC as an option.” Those fleets that adopted the technology early on could be indicative of additional proactive safety procedures, including stronger safety cultures, more sophisticated management oversight, better training and more stringent driver selection.

The report was conducted by the University of Michigan Transporotation Reseach Insitute under a cooperative agreement between NHTSA and Meritor WABCO.

You can download the full report from the ATRI’s website.


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