Transport Canada published notice of its proposal in The Canada Gazette I earlier this week. According to the notice, from 2005 to 2012 an average of 2,810 truck tractor collisions per year included a rollover or loss-of-control event, 819 of which caused injury and 70 of which caused fatalities.
The rule calls for the devices to be installed on all newly built, three-axle truck tractors with a gross vehicle weight in excess of 26,000 pounds, beginning in August 2017. It is expected to be phased into all targeted truck tractors and motor coaches by Aug. 1, 2019.
ESCs are designed not only to help prevent rollovers that may occur without the truck striking a curb or other roadside object, but also to mitigate understeer or oversteer conditions that could lead to a loss of control.
Transport Canada estimated that the devices could prevent up to 30 collisions per year involving 2018 vehicles.
The proposed mandate would also align Canadian vehicles with U.S. safety standards, which were published via a final rule-making by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in June 2015. The U.S. rule calls for electronic stability control systems to be installed on certain new tractors beginning Aug. 1, 2017, with the equipment becoming standard on all new heavy trucks and motor coaches by Aug. 1, 2019.
The benefit-cost analysis found ESC to be unequivocally superior to rollover stability control as a regulatory alternative. Requiring ESC systems will lead to positive net benefits for both truck tractors and motor coaches, estimated at preventing up to 30 collisions per year involving 2018 model year vehicles and resulting in a minimum benefit of approximately $17.763 million over the average useful life of the vehicles. Even the most conservative estimate demonstrates a positive benefit/cost ratio of 2.30 for truck tractors and 1.48 for motor coaches.
At the federal level, the country’s current motor vehicle safety regulations do not require electronic stability systems, nor do they specify performance requirements for vehicles which have voluntarily equipped such devices. Some provincial and territorial jurisdictions do require a stability control system for specific classes of heavy vehicles, such as Quebec, which requires tankers hauling dangerous substances to be fitted with either a driver-monitoring system or an ESC system. Ontario’s Long Combination Vehicle Program for trucks pulling trailers in excess of 82 feet also requires those vehicles to be equipped with an ESC system.