Volvo sees ESC accident cost savings

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) developed by Bendix is now a standard feature on all new VN and VT Class 8 tractor models built by Volvo Trucks North America

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) developed by Bendix is now a standard feature on all new VN and VT Class 8 tractor models built by Volvo Trucks North America. According to Volvo, the cost savings ESC can offer by preventing even one accident should more than outweigh any concern about its price tag.

Volvo conducted an analysis of how much a truck rollover can cost a fleet – an accident ESC is designed to prevent. The company found that, on average, a single rollover can cost a fleet or owner-operator $109,000 -- $50,000 to repair the vehicle, $20,000 in cargo claims, $10,000 for towing, $10,000 for clean-up, $10,000 in down time, $10,000 for higher insurance premiums, and a host of other costs that eat away into any truck owner’s budget.

“At a 5% profit margin, a fleet would have to generate $2 million in revenue to pay for one rollover accident,” according to Rob Simpson, Volvo’s marketing product manager, during a special demonstration of the ESC system last week at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. He noted that Bendix’s ESC reduces engine power and applies the truck’s brakes selectively to each wheel end when it senses an extreme maneuver – taking over the truck automatically and instantly, without the need for the driver to apply the brakes.

“That ‘instant response’ is critical,” Simpson added. “Studies show that providing just one extra second of braking time can reduce the rate of rear-end collisions 90%. Just two extra seconds may be all that it takes to prevent a rollover from occurring.”

And all of those benefits come at a cheap price. If a fleet wanted to remove the ESC system from the vehicle, they’d only see a $995 reduction in cost, said Simpson.

Owner-operator Boyce Gibson, who works for Southwinds Transportation out of Troutville, NC, took Volvo’s ESC demonstration tractor-trailer for a spin on the closed test course and gave it high marks. “I wish we had this out there in more numbers now; we’d see a whole lot less accidents, especially in terms of the panic maneuvers I see, when a trucker has to swerve to avoid a car or road hazard,” he told Fleet Owner.

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