The Best Thing Since Seat Belts

Okay, quick quiz: What's the difference between "Roll Stability Control" and "Electronic Stability Control?" Do you know the answer? Here's a hint: Roll Stability Control (RSC) is sometimes referred to as "roll-only stability," while Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is sometimes referred to as "full stability." Still stumped? Well, you're not alone. It turns out a lot of fleet professionals have a hard time distinguishing between the two, which is why Bendix has recently published a white paper (available here within the week) called “Road Map for the Future: Making the Case for Full-Stability.” The new paper, as Bendix described to the media in a conference call this week, will help fleet managers understand how the systems differ, and why "full stability" ESC is the best choice for many fleets. Why is this important? Two reasons. First, stability control systems are being touted as the most effective vehicle safety system since the seat belt; they can save lives, reduce property damage, and keep our highways safer for everyone. Second, the government may someday mandate them. To quote the white paper: "Regulators have already validated the impact stability systems can have on the safety of our nation’s highways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has mandated ESP/ESC stability systems for passenger cars, light trucks, and SUVs. The regulation takes effect with the 2009 model year, and full compliance is required by the 2012 model year. Currently, NHTSA is considering additional regulation relative to stability technology for Class 6, 7, and 8 air-braked combination vehicles." Need I say more? You need to know about this technology, what it does, how it works, and what it can do for your fleet. Bendix's white paper may not answer all your questions, but as a primer in stability control systems it's hard to beat. Oh, and the difference between RSC and ESC? Simply put, RSC detects directional changes in the vehicle, and takes corrective action if it calculates that a directional change will cause a rollover. ESC detects directional changes in the vehicle and compares them to driver input to determine if the vehicle is going in the direction the driver intends. If it's not, ESC can intervene in vehicle control to a greater extent than RSC to prevent a rollover and keep the vehicle moving in the right direction. There's more to it, of course. Want to know more? Read the paper.