Bendix: Electronic stability trumps automatic braking, roll-only stability

Sources: Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, Elyria, Ohio; CP staff

Along with endorsing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s choice of electronic stability control (ESC) for its final rule requiring full-stability technology on Class 7 and Class 8 truck tractors, Bendix CVS assesses ESC performance against vehicle-stabilizing alternatives.

“We believe ESC stands alone in terms of safety, performance and value,” says Bendix Director of Government and Industry Affairs Fred Andersky. “This technology is another positive step on the part of our industry toward helping improve highway safety.” From the perspective of Bendix, which leads the market with its Electronic Stability Program (ESP) devices, he notes that fleet operators currently equipping vehicles either with automatic brake only or roll-only stability systems, need to understand three key differences in order to better prepare for the NHTSA rule:

  • Full-stability systems use more sensors than either automatic brake or roll-only stability systems, creating a more comprehensive system capable of addressing both roll and directional stability. Additional sensors enable the unit to more quickly recognize factors that could lead to vehicle rollovers or loss-of-control. On dry surfaces, an ESP-level system recognizes and mitigates conditions that could lead to rollover and loss-of-control situations sooner than roll-only options. Full-stability technology also functions in a wider range of driving and road conditions than roll-only systems, including snowy, ice-covered, and slippery surfaces. Automatic braking systems are not designed to react to potential roll or loss-of-control situations.
  • Interventions can differ. Full-stability systems rely on automatic brake interventions involving the steer, drive, and trailer axles, whereas roll-only systems typically apply the brakes only on the drive and trailer axles. Slowing the vehicle quickly helps mitigate rollovers faster, while slowing and redirecting can help the driver maneuver in loss-of-control situations.
  • Stability systems are the foundation for advanced active safety technologies. As a collision mitigation system detects a possible collision with a forward vehicle and automatically applies the brakes in order to prevent or lessen its severity, for example, the brake system should help the vehicle maintain its stability throughout the maneuver. This level of performance is best achieved with a full-stability system that is consistent with the new NHTSA rule.

“In our view, the market had already made its technology choice known prior to the formal introduction of NHTSA’s rule. Industry-wide, full stability is outselling roll-only technology three to one, up from three to two in previous years,” Andersky affirms. “The increasing adoption of ESC demonstrates the willingness by fleets to invest in the technology because of full stability’s ability to help reduce the number of heavy truck accidents, improve safety records, and deliver return on investment.”

More than 375,000 trucks bear the Bendix ESP, he adds, the technology now included in Mack, Navistar, Paccar and Volvo specs.

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