Electronic stability control - why we need it now

It’s time for Electronic Stability Control with Roll Stability say the Chairmen of ARTSA and NBTA

A copy of the letter to the NSW Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay, can be read here.

Further technical papers from ARTSA published in the Trailer Magazine are available here.

A link to the ABC Radio National Briefing on fuel tankers can be found here.

ABC News: Government urged to expedite compulsory high-tech braking system adoption

With the recent concerns over heavy vehicle crashes, two of Australia’s leading industry groups, the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) and the National Bulk Tanker Association (NBTA) have come together to advocate the immediate adoption of Electronic Stability Control with a rollover stability feature on all new heavy vehicles.

The evidence for the adoption of this technology is compelling. It has been one of the recommendations of a Coronial Inquest in NSW and is likely to be considered again when the recent Mona Vale tanker accident is investigated. Demonstrations consistently show that ESC adds a useful safety margin when heavy vehicles go around bends. It also helps during avoidance manoeuvres.

There is no doubt that modern braking systems, of the ESC type could save lives, said Dr Peter Hart, Chairman of the ARTSA. “Even experienced drivers occasionally misjudge the road conditions. It is not a case of speeding; it is a case of misjudgement. Variable loading and slosh in tankers is another problem factor. The intelligent control system can foresee a developing problem and intervene”, he said.

According to Dr Hart, “The European Union has mandated electronic stability control (which includes a pending roll-over response) on all new heavy vehicles; and the USA has announced its intention to mandate ESC on new motive trucks. Australia should gain confidence from this leadership and do the same. Australia is a world-leading country in the development of safer and more productive and fuel-efficient heavy vehicles. We need to take the next step; which is mandated ESC for all new heavy vehicles,” he said.

ARTSA and the NBTA have noted and applaud the comments of David Simon, Managing Director of Simon National Carriers in the recent Radio National program on truck roll overs. “I’ve been purchasing electronic stability on all trailers we’ve bought for the last seven or eight years, really since it’s become reliable and robust in Australian conditions.”; said Mr Simon in the recent interview. Whilst retrofitting existing vehicles has challenges and is more costly, some operators are also choosing to do so.

Justin Keast heads up McColl’s tanker division and operates one of the largest tanker fleets in the country. He is also Chairman of the National Bulk Tanker Association (NBTA). According the Mr Keast, “the good operators in our industry have embraced ESC. It is no longer a debate and our Association has supported its adoption for a number of years. However there are considerable numbers of operators who are happy to avoid it simply because it adds cost to their business. It is time to level the playing field and ensure that all new trucks and trailers are fitted with ESC”, he said.

Dr Hart sees a way forward. “When John Brumby was Premier of Victoria, he forced the motor car industry to adopted ESC for cars. He simply said, if a car were sold in Victoria, it would not be registered unless it had ESC and side curtain airbags. It took a very short space of time before all States and the Federal government followed. We need one Premier to stand up and say the same for heavy vehicles, and not just tankers,” he said.

The single most significant safety solution for heavy vehicles in the last 20 years has been left on the shelf long enough. The public demands better. The two Chairmen say that ESC with roll-stability response should be mandated on new vehicles, within 18 months. It’s time that the Governments of Australia acted to make this reality.


ARTSA has written to each of the State and Federal Ministers urging their acceptance of this braking technology. A copy of the letter to the NSW Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay, can be read here.

Further technical papers from ARTSA published in the Trailer Magazine are available here.

A link to the ABC Radio National Briefing on fuel tankers can be found here.

ABC News: Government urged to expedite compulsory high-tech braking system adoption


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