ATA calls for mandatory ESC

National body cites research backing electronic stability control’s life-saving role

ATA calls for mandatory ESC
Chris Loose says braking reform must start with mandatory ESC.


The Australian Trucking Association has used Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and the National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) data to bolster a call to Canberra for the mandating of electronic stability control (ESC) in heavy vehicles.

ATA senior engineering adviser Chris Loose delivered the message at the Woodflow Optimisation 2016 conference on timber logistics and harvesting held in Melbourne this week.

Loose cited relatively recent but just released research showing that mandated ESC could reduce fatal heavy vehicle crashes by four per cent, and serious injury crashes involving heavy vehicles by seven per cent.

"Electronic Stability Control is a superior vehicle safety system that detects the stability and sideways acceleration of a heavy vehicle, and automatically activates to slow the vehicle down if it senses risk of a rollover," Loose says.

"The Australian Government must mandate the use of ESC in new models of trucks and trailers as it is the key to reducing crashes and improving safety in the trucking industry."

"ESC is the foundation technology required before we can progress to automated emergency braking systems (AEBS) – so this is a fundamental step Australia must take," Loose says.  

"AEBS uses additional sensors to monitor the proximity of other vehicles, and automatically apply emergency braking if a collision is imminent."

MUASC estimates AEBS could prevent up to 25 per cent of fatal heavy vehicle crashes, and up to 17 per cent of serious injury crashes.  

The net result in real terms is that AEBS would save the lives of 67 Australian road users annually if fitted across the whole fleet.

"ESC is an extremely capable stability control system, but can only be fitted to powered units such as prime movers," Loose says.

"Instead of relying on driver response, technology enables the system to be predictive instead of reactive; activating preventive action to an impending incident. 

"Often, the driver may not be aware that the system has activated."

The ATA is pushing for stability control technologies for new model trucks and trailers from 2019, and for new trucks and trailers from 2020.

"The ATA has argued there would need to be appropriate exemptions for trucks operating in rural and regional areas, where the demanding operating conditions can cause maintenance issues for the technology, and for particular combinations where the effectiveness of ESC is limited," it says.

"It has been noted that while ESC is a well-established technology, issues such as how to handle voltage incompatibilities between trucks and trailers need to be finalised before it can become mandated for all new trucks.

"To improve the understanding of the compatibility of different braking technologies within combinations, the ATA is actively working with other industry players on the development of a guide to braking and stability performance for heavy vehicle combinations." 



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