Chain of Responsibility Update: New Technologies that help prevent Truck Crashes

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dangerous goods tanker

According to recent reports trucking lobby wants all states to follow the lead of NSW in making electronic stability control (ESC) for all dangerous good tankers a mandatory requirement.

According to The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) a similar approach to electronic stability control (ESC) technology should be taken around the country, as we have seen take place in New South Wales which make it compulsory for all dangerous goods tankers to be fitted with ESC technology as of 2019.

The state recently announced that it would require dangerous goods trucks to have ESC by January 2019 and dangerous goods tanker trailers manufactured on or after July 1, 2014 to have ESC in order to make use of the NSW road network.

According to its’ CEO Stuart St Clair, the ATA wants to see this approach rolled out nationally rather than be just limited to NSW.

Now trucking operators will have to provide annual progress reports between now and the implementation of the legislation, on the installation of ESC throughout their fleets.

The decision by the NSW state government was largely as a result of recommendations made following a coronial inquest into a major tanker crash in 2009.

Why Electronic Stability Control?

The main purpose for the implementation of ESC technology is to facilitate crash avoidance. This technology helps the driver of the heavy vehicle avoid a road crash and optimises the safe running of the vehicle on the road.

Now more than ever, more and more vehicles including light motor vehicles are being fitted with this technology which includes warnings, automatic brake systems, traction control, electronic stability programs (ESP) etc. All these technologies are aimed at assisting drivers to avoid crashes but obviously each function is different in how they operate.

Mostly these technologies monitor the behaviour of the driver and the environment around the vehicle and use this information to warn the driver if a possible crash is detected.

Certain technologies work by increasing braking power or adjusting steering response to help drivers remain in their lane etc. Some also work to automatically brake or steer the vehicle if it anticipates that the driver is not going to make the necessary adjustment to avoid the crash.

What exactly is Electronic Stability Control (ESC)?

Electronic Stability Control or ESC is a vehicle control system which is aimed at avoiding crashes by using its technology to control the heavy vehicle.

The system is made up of sensors and a computer that monitors the vehicle and driver responses continuously throughout the journey. It keeps track of the driver’s steering input and selectively applies the truck’s braking system. It also moderates the vehicle’s engine power to keep the truck going along the path indicated by the steering wheel position.

What are the Benefits?

There are number of benefits that come from having ESC technology on heavy vehicles which ultimately should result in a lower accident rate for heavy vehicles.

One of the major benefits is that it prevents the vehicle from skidding sideways and also helps stop the loss of control that can lead to rollovers.

The technology assists drivers in maintaining control when they conduct emergency manoeuvres, which would otherwise result in the vehicle spinning out of control or reducing speed to prevent running of the road.

Anti-locking brake systems help heavy vehicle drivers to avoid a crash by replacing hard braking which can cause wheels to lock and the vehicle to skid – this has been the cause of numerous heavy vehicle crashes in the past. Wheels locking when drivers brake hard can result in longer stooping distances being required, loss of steering control loss of stability and spinning of the vehicle. This technology is a particular benefit on wet and slippery roads.

Another beneficial technology is Daytime running lights which basically mean that the vehicles headlights are running throughout the day, whenever the vehicle is running – day or night. This is a fairly low cost way of remaining visible in bad weather conditions and thereby reducing crashes. They have proven effective in preventing daytime head-on and front-corner collisions by making it easier to see vehicles, particularly as they approach from far away, allowing more time to adjust driving behaviour to avoid a crash.

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