Truck manufacturers preparing for NHTSA safety update

Next month, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to publish a new final rule for class 7 and 8 (heavy duty) trucks, and manufacturers have been updating their systems in anticipation, according to a recent report. Bendix, a manufacturer of commercial vehicle systems, says that it and other companies in its industry are increasingly adopting full stability and collision mitigation systems.

NHTSA's May update is expected to address full stability for heavy-duty tractors, but collision mitigation will also be a point of emphasis in the near future, according to reports. At the recent Mid-America Trucking Show, held March 31–April 2 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Bendix showed off a new collision mitigation package that combines camera and radar to warn truck drivers when they drift into an adjacent lane or apply brakes automatically to prevent accidents.

Electronic stability control (ESC) systems are designed to detect and address loss of traction, reducing the risk of rollover or loss of control even in difficult road conditions.

"The sensors and controls at the heart of an ESC system require little or no routine maintenance," said Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions T. J. Thomas. "The physical components of an ESC system typically need attention only if certain aspects of the vehicle, itself, have changed."

While Bendix is among the leaders in ESC technology in North America, European companies like Daimler AG and Volvo Trucks are introducing their own systems in their home markets and are expected to bring them Stateside in the very near future.

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