As a result of several recent school bus crashes, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend that manufacturers install electronic stability controls on all buses. Why is electronic stability control important and what exactly does it do?
In a nutshell, electronic stability control assists school bus drivers by detecting when a school bus is unstable and corrects the path of the bus before a rollover or loss of control occurs. This may be especially likely on a slippery curve or during an evasive maneuver. Because the technology can sense the stability and dynamics of a bus better than drivers can, it can help eliminate accidents before they happen.
In partnership with WABCO, factory-installed SmartTrac™ electronic stability control (ESC) is part of Thomas Built Buses BusWise® Technologies. The feature is now standard and factory-installed on all new Saf-T-Liner® C2 diesel and CNG school buses.
Here’s how it works.
When faced with the risk of a rollover or loss-of-control, drivers usually are not aware that vehicle dynamics are about to become critically unstable until the point of no return already has been reached. WABCO’s SmartTrac ESC automatically intervenes by comparing the vehicle’s actual movement to performance models, using various vehicle sensors. If the vehicle shows a tendency to leave the driver’s intended path or exceeds a critical acceleration threshold, SmartTrac ESC helps the driver maintain control. The system works with the Saf-T-Liner C2’s air disc and drum brakes to slow movement and align the vehicle with the driver’s intended path of travel.
This technology does not replace the need for safe driving. In fact, the driver maintains responsibility for safe driving practices in all road conditions. But it does help correct course when the bus loses stability, a huge plus for any driver, especially in tricky weather.
According to NHSTA, rollovers are the most dangerous type of bus accident and the second-most likely harmful component in single school bus crashes. Electronic stability control is beneficial to all school districts. By avoiding accidents, school districts can save lives as well as money on repairs and avoid the downtime that would result from an accident.
To learn more about electronic stability control for your school bus fleet, contact your local Thomas Built Buses dealer.