Trailer Talk

Feds want anti-rollover systems on tank trailers and tractors

February 21, 2012

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The feds have become believers in electronic roll-stability control (RSC) systems, and want tank-trailer operators to buy them, though it won't be right away, reports the American Trucking Associations.

ATA's director of engineering services, Ted Scott, told folks attending the Technology & Maintenance Council's annual meeting in Tampa, Fla., that federal authorities will soon notify the trucking industry that it plans to make RSC mandatory for tank trailers and tractors.

ATA expects the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making in April, Scott said. This will be the first step in a rule-making process which usually stretches out over a year or more. The National Transportation Safety Board has called for the RSC requirement after investigating a tanker crash.

Rollover wrecks by tankers can be especially messy because petroleum products and some chemicals can explode and burn so hot that they've destroyed bridges. Drivers, motorists and bystanders are sometimes killed or badly injured, and damage can run into the millions of dollars.

Rollovers usually happen on curves and circular freeway ramps that drivers enter too fast. RSC monitors a tractor-trailer's movements and senses when a rollover is about to occur, and cuts the tractor's throttle and applies the rig's brakes to try to prevent the accident.

NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration concluded that RSC works well after studying fleet experiences with it in recent years, Scott said. Many tanker fleets now spec it and find that the systems more than pay off their $1,500 to $2,500 per vehicle cost rather quickly, even if they have to infer the savings through reduction in the number of accidents they see.

ATA expects NHTSA to meanwhile issue a rulemaking for Class 7 and 8 tractors in March.


  1. 1. Donald J Kaleta [ February 28, 2012 @ 12:21AM ]

    Please search DEFORMABLE KINGPIN that explains a simple to understand solution to forbid a tractor to follow into destruction during rollover events. The concept is the same as to why you have fuses or circuit breakers in electrical systems in your home, office or car -- a failsafe -- to prevent further destruction. This innovation is a simple modification of a component, the trailer’s coupling kingpin, whose design has been a standard for over 70 years, which can be made to deform and not allow an extremely stable tractor to follow to destruction when the trailer, that is the dominant controlling force, is in IMMINENT peril for rollover, that includes also blown over tractor trailers. Donald J. Kaleta

  2. 2. Donald J Kaleta [ February 28, 2012 @ 12:23AM ]

    Please search DEFORMABLE KINGPIN continued-- The NHTSA & FMCSA continue to turn their backs and ignore their past funded research conclusions, as the trucking industry evolves greater unstable tractor trailers on our highways that have a primary attribute for increasing payload capacity. These catastrophes will continue to occur in thousands of accidents of this type each year as they have in the past, and continue to cause infrastructure damage that will harm and kill many hundreds of tractor occupants annually. These combination vehicles are incendiary bombs when carrying flammable material in tankers, and the flash point for these fires starts with the tractor’s involvement. A statement received from the FMCSA states “There are a variety of technologies for preventing rollover crashes and we believe motor carriers should have as much flexibility as possible in selecting technologies to prevent crashes.” Clearly the fox is allowed to guard the hen house!!!


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Author Bio

Tom Berg

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Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.


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