Drivers warned against electronic braking complacency

By: Steve Skinner

Some are pushing trucks fitted with electronic stability control to the limit, experts say

Drivers warned against electronic braking complacency
Braking complacency warning: Isuzu product development manager Romesh Rodrigo


The experts say that electronic braking and stability technologies are about control, rather than absolute stopping distances.

They say the technologies are great for already-safe drivers who might encounter a sudden emergency situation, and of course there are plenty of those possibilities with idiot car drivers alone.

However advocates of electronic braking acknowledge there is a risk that drivers will become complacent and push the envelope, thinking the technology will save their bacon if they go too hard.

"It’s the guy behind the wheel 9 times out of 10 who controls the destiny of the vehicle, not the technology," says the Australian Trucking Association’s Chris Loose.

"And what we are tending to find is there is a small group of guys who will drive to the limit of the technology. So by having the technology, it’s fantastic, but physics is physics, it will not save them all the time, we still have to ensure that they have the skills."

Isuzu’s Romesh Rodrigo joined Loose in also warning about driver complacency at this year’s Comvec technical conference in Melbourne.

Rodrigo says drivers need education in the new electronic wizardry. He says while in some applications  there have been less rollovers with stability control, there’s also been more wheel end damage.

"The drivers are now just driving to the limit, pushing these vehicles, and there’s a light flashing there but ‘Oh, gee, my truck hasn’t rolled over yet, so that’s a great thing’," says Rodrigo.

"But we’re not teaching the drivers that if that light is flashing, if that (ESC) plug falls out, that truck will be on its side."

Check out much more on electronic braking technology in the next issue of Owner//DriverSubscribe here.



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