Thomas Built adds electronic stability control to buses

Thomas Built Buses, school bus manufacturer, installed Meritor WABCO SmartTracTM electronic stability control (ESC) on its pneumatically braked Saf-T-Liner C2 school buses, Meritor recently announced.

Starting this month, Thomas Built Buses will offer SmartTrac ESC, an active vehicle safety system that intervenes automatically when there is a high risk of rollover or directional instability that could lead to loss of vehicle control.

“We’re delighted to partner with Meritor WABCO, a recognized pioneer in advanced stability control systems, to make Thomas Built school buses an even safer way to travel,” said Ed Swaim, product manager for Thomas Built.

Stephen Hampson, president and general manager for Meritor WABCO, added: “We applaud Thomas Built Buses for its leadership position in school bus safety. Electronic stability control helps prevent accidents and improves the safety of schoolchildren across America.”

When faced with potential rollovers and loss-of-control situations, drivers may not always realize that their vehicle is becoming critically unstable until the point of no return is already reached.  Meritor WABCO said its SmartTrac ESC intervenes by constantly comparing the vehicle’s actual movement to performance models using various vehicle sensors. If the vehicle appears to leave the driver’s intended path or exceeds a critical acceleration threshold, the SmartTrac ESC safety system works to try and help the driver maintain control, the company said.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, school buses are the safest mode of motorized transportation for getting children to and from school. Students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school safely if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends. The National Safety Council also reports that school buses are the safest form of ground transportation – about 40 times safer than the family car.

An estimated 25 million children a year ride the bus to and from school.  While school buses are considered to be the safest mode of transportation for children, they are still involved in approximately 26,000 crashes annually, according to NHTSA. Crash statistics show that the most dangerous type of bus accident is the rollover. A Scientific Society of Mechanical Engineers paper reported that the average rate is 25 casualties per bus rollover accident. Head-on collisions, the second-most severe, had a casualty rate of 17.

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