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Why Do Semi-Trucks Use Electronic Stability Control Systems

Anyone who drives regularly is likely accustomed to the presence of big tractor-trailer trucks on the roadway. After all, there are approximately 2.9 million registered semi-trucks in the United States, and we know that plenty of them make their way to Oregon. 

However, if you are not intimately involved in the trucking industry, you might never hear about many exciting advancements concerning trucks and trucking. But rest assured; there is more complexity than meets the eye. 

As with other industries and products, technological innovation exists concerning tractors, trailers, and trucking processes. These innovations can address a variety of issues, such as power, speed, efficiency, and of course, safety. In this blog, we will discuss electronic stability control systems.

Concern with Rollovers and Other Dangers.

Remember that a semi-truck usually comprises two parts – the tractor (or truck) and the trailer it pulls. Of course, we occasionally see a tractor driving without a trailer, which is called “bobtailing.”  Because the tractor is the motorized part of the vehicle, and has a driver, it’s easy to assume that most safety features involve only the truck itself.

 However, trailer safety, including how the trailer and tractor work together, is also paramount in preventing semi-truck accidents in Oregon – and throughout the country. One of the most significant safety concerns is rollovers. The results can be deadly.

What Is an Electronic Stability Control System?

Electronic Stability Control Systems use computers to automatically apply brakes and reduce engine output on truck tractors when certain dangers are sensed. The system is designed to help reduce rollovers and to mitigate understeering or oversteering that might result in loss of control. These systems are required by law to be installed on certain classes of big trucks and some buses.

When the rule requiring these systems was implemented, the Department of Transportation (DOT) estimated the electronic stability control systems would prevent 14% of crashes resulting from a loss of control. Moreover, DOT estimated a 40 to 56 percent reduction in untripped rollover accidents. “Untripped” rollovers are those that occur when a driver makes a maneuver to avoid an accident. In sum, the DOT opined that the rule would prevent at least 1424 – 1759 accidents and reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by semi-truck accidents in Oregon.

What Is a Trailer Stability System?

Trailer stability systems are installed on truck trailers and are similarly designed to help prevent rollovers. Controls on the ends of wheels can detect dangerous conditions and engage the brakes, even without the driver’s knowledge.

Safe Truck Driving on Oregon Roads 

Experts note that technology can play an essential role in making trucks safer. However, technology, computers, and electronic systems are only part of the answer, especially in dangerous times of year for semi-truck drivers. 

The most critical factor is having a well-trained, skilled driver. The driver needs to understand the technology being used, but also must be alert and safe. If a truck driver is negligent, accidents can occur even when tractors and trailers are equipped with the best technology available.

Call with Questions

Technology has come a long way in making both cars and semi-trucks safer than they used to be. Hopefully, there will be many more life-saving features developed in the future. However, as long as humans are involved, crashes will likely be caused by negligence -and you will probably have questions about your rights. 

The experienced Oregon truck accident lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield are here to answer them. We also understand the complex laws related to interstate trucking and can help you investigate whether trucking companies have complied with the law. Please call us for a free consultation.