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NTSB Renews Call for Stability Controls in Trucks, School Buses

After research confirmed the effectiveness of electronic stability controls (ESC) and rollover stability control (RSC) in preventing rollovers, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) renewed its recommendation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for regulation requiring trucks and buses to be equipped with stability controls.

The recommendation, delivered by NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman, was the result of an investigation into a 2009 semi-truck crash in Indiana. The semi was carrying over 9,000 gallons of liquid propane when it swerved to avoid a Volvo on an interchange linking two interstates. The trailer carrying the propane detached from the semi truck-tractor and rolled over.

The truck also collided with a bridge, which caused the propane to leak and catch fire. The truck driver and the driver of the Volvo were seriously injured in the crash and resulting fire. Three others on the interstate reported minor injuries.

Similar 18-wheeler accidents can and do occur throughout the United States. Memphis truck accident attorneys stand up for the rights of the victims of commercial vehicle accidents that occur on Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi interstates.

Could Stability Control Have Prevented the Interstate Truck Accident?

The crash was caused, according to the NTSB, by “evasive steering maneuver[s]” taken by the truck driver to avoid the Volvo. The NTSB could not determine, however, whether a stability control system could have prevented this particular crash because data from the truck’s electronic control module was destroyed during the fire.

But, following the fiery truck crash, the NTSB has conducted simulations mirroring the facts and circumstances of the rollover accident. The simulations showed that a stability control system could potentially have prevented this and similar rollovers.

Another 2009 rollover involving a charter bus prompted a prior recommendation by the NTSB to require stability controls in trucks and buses over a 10,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration received a similar request for electronic stability control regulations for trucks carrying hazardous cargo.