If you have a relatively new car, you have an important safety feature called electronic stability control in it. But that big bus or heavy truck next to you on the road? It probably doesn't.
This week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finalized a rule that will change that.
Electronic stability control, or ESC, helps keep a vehicle under control when the driver's own steering and braking isn't quick enough to prevent a crash. ESC was required for cars and light duty trucks in 2012, although many automakers made it standard before then.
The final rule announced today requires ESC systems on heavy trucks and large buses exceeding 26,000 pounds in gross weight.
Reducing crashes through ESC in these trucks and buses will save lives – nearly 50 each year, says NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. It will move goods and people more efficiently and reduce the toll crashes take on our economy through traffic delays and property damage. It’s a win for the safety and convenience of the traveling public and for our economy.
NHTSA estimates the rule will prevent as many as 1,759 crashes, 649 injuries and 49 fatalities each year.
The rule will take effect for most heavy trucks two years from publication. The requirement will take effect in three years for buses larger than 33,000 pounds and four years for those weighing between 26,000 and 33,000 pounds.