Browse Publications Technical Papers 2012-01-1906

Safety Performance and Benefits of Heavy Truck Stability Control: Providing Insight into Compliance Evaluation 2012-01-1906

This paper contains an analysis of the potential safety benefits of electronic stability control (ESC) for single unit trucks and tractor semitrailers within the U.S. operating environment. It is based on research projects [1,2] which combined hardware-in-the-loop simulation and vehicle testing with the analysis of independent crash datasets using engineering and statistical techniques to estimate the probable safety benefits of stability control technologies for 5-axle tractor-semitrailer vehicles and single unit trucks. The characteristics of ESC-relevant crashes involving these two vehicle classes were found to be very different as were the control strategies needed for crash avoidance. Rollover was the dominant ESC relevant crash type for tractor semitrailers while loss of control was the dominant ESC relevant crash for straight trucks.
The conventional approach for assessing the safety benefits of vehicle technologies is to analyze crash datasets containing data on the safety performance of vehicles equipped with the technology of interest. Because the deployment of ESC for large trucks is in its infancy, national crash databases do not yet have sufficient data that can be directly linked to the performance of the technology. Therefore a novel method of examining the potential benefits of these systems was used. This paper focuses on heavy truck loss of yaw control and on un-tripped rollover in curves. The analysis is based on the examination of crash scenarios that could likely benefit from ESC. Since crash databases cannot identify trucks equipped with ESC, the analysis identifies the primary ESC-relevant crash scenarios, derives probable outcome estimates from hardware-in-the-loop simulation, field test experience, and expert panel assessment. National safety benefit estimates are then computed. The process of ESC evaluation provides insight into compliance evaluation options that may prove useful in the regulatory evaluation of ESC for heavy trucks. A discussion of possible compliance test options is provided.


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