The NHTSA has announced a new rule requiring tractor trailers to have electronic stability control systems.

Tractor trailers deliver products and materials to people in the Bay Area, but at a cost. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that in 2013, 3,602 people died as the result of an accident involving a semi. This number signifies a 14 percent increase in the previous four years, and it should not come as a surprise that the majority of people killed or seriously injured are those inside passenger vehicles.

One cause of these collisions are the trucks’ braking systems. The Truckers Report states that tractor trailers require 40 percent more stopping time than passenger cars. Part of the reason is that semis are much heavier – they can weigh up to 80,000 pounds for a truck pulling one loaded trailer, and more than that if they are pulling two or more trailers. The other reason trucks need extra time is the condition of the road. If the road is wet, it is easy for truck drivers to lose control and slam into another vehicle.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that the answer to the issue with the truck’s braking system is the electronic stability control system. This system puts the semi’s wheels under the control of a computer program. When the system detects that the truck’s wheels are traveling on rough pavement, water or snow, the computer sends a signal that essentially hits the brakes on those wheels in a way that prevents the truck from losing control or sliding.

Newer passenger cars are already being manufactured with this kind of safety in place, and some newer tractor trailers also feature the safety technology. The NHTSA believes that if all heavy trucks and large buses carried the electronic stability control system, up to 60 lives could be saved. Additionally, the agency estimates that there would be 1,807 to 2,329 fewer crashes involving semis and buses each year.


Recently, the NHTSA used their estimates to establish a new rule that will require all tractor trailers and buses to feature electronic stability control systems. According to USA Today, the rule will go into effect in 2017 and comes after the National Transportation Safety Board suggested in 2011 that such a rule should be made.

Fleet Owner Magazine states that some heavy truck manufacturers are already installing this type of system on new trucks in anticipation of the new rule. It was also revealed that older trucks would not be required to install an electronic stability control system, although it was unclear how old a truck would have to be to meet the exemption.

A truck accident can leave people seriously injured or others mourning the loss of a loved one. Seeking counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney can provide them with options in obtaining financial justice.