Last year, Indianapolis residents had a close view of the massive destruction that can occur when a tanker truck is involved in a rollover accident. In October 2009, a propane truck flipped over on Interstate 465, and burst into flames. The resulting blaze could be seen for miles around, and even motorists a mile away from the explosion could feel the heat. That accident could likely have been averted if the tanker truck had come equipped with a stability control system of the kind found in millions of passenger vehicles around the country. Unfortunately, federal agencies have failed to make these systems mandatory on all commercial trucks.
This week, representatives of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told a hearing of the National Transportation Safety Board that the federal administration was looking into the benefits of having electronic stability control systems made mandatory on all commercial trucks. The hearing was linked to the Indianapolis crash, and the National Transportation Safety Board was specifically looking into safety systems to prevent tanker truck rollovers, like the one that occurred last year. According to the researchers who presented the findings at the hearing, electronic stability control systems on all 18-wheelers would prevent 3,600 rollover truck accidents every year, save 106 lives and prevent 4,400 injuries every year.
Tanker trucks are at an especially high risk of rollover when there’s a shift in the liquid cargo. This can cause a loss of balance, contributing to a truck rollover. Truck rollovers only account for about 30% of all commercial truck accidents, but they account for more than 50% of all truck driver accident fatalities. Mandating electronic stability control systems would prevent many of these accidents every year.
The technology to prevent rollover accidents, exists. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made electronic stability control systems mandatory on all new passenger vehicles. These systems have been found to significantly reduce injuries and fatalities in SUV, passenger car and pickup truck rollovers every year. Indiana truck accident lawyers know that they could do the same for commercial trucks too.