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New Study Lauds Truck Rollover Technology

New Jersey roadways constitute a corridor of busy and essentially constant trucking activity, with serious and deadly commercial truck accidents being a common occurrence.

A recent study conducted by University of Michigan researchers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") addresses precisely the issue of truck crashes across the country, with a special focus on commercial truck rollovers and how to minimize their occurrence in the future.

The study has just concluded and involves what John Woodrooffe, its co-author, calls "a really powerful technology" operative in stability control systems that are already integrated into some tractor trailer trucks but not yet mandated for use in commercial trucks.

The NHTSA states that the introduction of this system into commercial rigs could prevent well over 3,000 rollover accidents annually, as well as more than 4,000 injuries and 100 deaths. The agency adds that the system is especially relevant to tank trucks, many of which contain hazardous loads. These trucks represent only six percent of large trucks on the nation's roads, yet account for more than 30 percent of fatal truck rollover crashes.

A truck-installed stabilizer system works with an onboard truck computer to identify, through special sensors, cargo weight shifting that has created an imbalance and could precipitate a rollover. When the sensors pass this information to the computer, the latter automatically applies brakes to the tire or tires that best compensate for the instability.

The price for system installation is relatively cheap: When included on a new truck, the price is increased by only about $1,000; when installed into an already existing truck, the cost is about $1,200.

Related Resource: "NHTSA: New technology can prevent truck rollovers" August 3, 2010

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