In a move aimed at saving lives, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently proposed a new federal standard that would require electronic stability control (ESC) on large commercial trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses.

According to the agency, the technology, once implemented, could prevent up to 56% of rollover crashes each year, and 14% of loss of control crashes.

"The Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have long recognized the potential impact of stability control technology in reducing deaths and serious injuries that result from rollover crashes," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Today's proposal is a major step forward to improving the safety of large commercial trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses."

In a press release, the agency said "An extensive NHTSA research program to determine how available stability control technologies affect crashes involving commercial vehicles found ESC systems to be the most effective tool for reducing the propensity for heavy vehicles to rollover or lose control. With sensors that monitor vehicle movement and steering, ESC can help mitigate rollover incidents by using automatic computer-controlled braking, and also aid the driver in addressing severe understeer or oversteer conditions that can lead to loss of control. NHTSA estimates that a standard requiring ESC on the nation's large trucks and large buses would prevent up to 2,329 crashes, eliminate an estimated 649 to 858 injuries, and prevent between 49 and 60 fatalities a year."

"We've already seen how effective stability control can be at reducing rollovers in passenger vehicles—the ability for this type of technology to save lives is one reason it is required on cars and light-duty trucks beginning with model year 2012," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Now, we're expanding our efforts to require stability enhancing technology on the many large trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses on our roadways."

While many passenger vehicles have also had ESC included, having large rigs and buses have this technology will certainly benefit all parties.

It should be noted that while many truck tractors and large buses can currently be ordered with this technology, the proposed standard would require ESC systems as standard equipment on these types of vehicles. As proposed, the rule would take effect between two and four years after the standard is finalized, depending on the type of vehicle.