An End to Big Rig Rollovers?

A truck rollover prevention system jointly developed by Shell Chemicals and the Italian automotive equipment maker Bertocco has won the 2010 EuroTra Safety and Innovation Award given by the European Transport Training Association (EuroTra) and Volvo Trucks. This annual award honors promising traffic safety products and those that enhance drivers' working environment.

"Safety is one of Volvo Trucks' core values. We want to reward good ideas that can help improve traffic safety. This year's award winners have engineered a simple, smart solution that addresses a vital need," said Carl Johan Almqvist, Traffic and Product Safety director at Volvo Trucks and a member of the EuroTra jury.

According to Volvo, the system consists of a sensor on the trailer’s rear axle and a receiver in the cab. It is designed for tankers but can, in principle, be used for all transport operations involving trucks and trailers. The sensor monitors the trailer's lateral movements and alerts the driver audibly and with lighted signals if the rig is behaving abnormally and risks rolling over, such as when a curve is being negotiated at excessive speed. The system can be retrofitted on existing trucks at low cost and used in training to teach drivers how to avoid rollover accidents.

Volvo's Electronic Stability Program, or ESP, uses a similar format with several sensors that monitor driver behavior and the truck's movements. "In modern trucks fitted with ESP, the driver is alerted when a rollover or skid is imminent, and the system simultaneously applies the brakes in a controlled manner to prevent an accident," Almqvist said. "But for older trucks, this system is an excellent alternative."

Posted by Jerry Laws on Nov 29, 2010