LISLE, Ill. — IC Bus announced on Tuesday that it is making electronic stability control (ESC) and collision mitigation technology standard on its school buses.
The school bus manufacturer’s new CE Series and RE Series diesel buses with air brakes now feature the safety technologies. ESC will be available for IC buses with hydraulic brakes in the spring of 2019.
Additionally, ESC will be available for IC propane and gasoline buses with air brakes in the spring of 2019.
The advanced technologies used in these systems support the driver with added information and intelligence, so drivers can sense situations quickly and completely and make informed decisions, including intervening to avoid a loss of control or a crash. The new systems also provide safety features that school bus drivers may have in their own cars as well as in commercial trucks, which may have a positive impact in recruiting and retaining drivers, according to IC Bus.
“With electronic stability control and collision mitigation, the safest mode of transportation just got even better,” said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager of IC Bus. “IC Bus is able to bring these advanced technologies to customers in a cost-effective manner, while delivering added peace of mind to school districts, school bus contractors, students, and their parents.”
IC Bus’ collision mitigation technology will offer active as well as passive safety features, according to the school bus manufacturer. The passive features give alerts to the driver to let them know they may need to take action, and the active features can help prevent or mitigate a crash by taking an action such as de-throttling the engine and applying the brakes, Reed explained.
The Bendix Wingman Advanced collision mitigation system is standard on all CE Series and RE Series models with air brakes. The Bendix Wingman Fusion driver assistance system is also an option on CE Series buses. The Bendix ESP full stability system is standard in CE Series and RE Series models with air brakes.
Reed noted that making these systems standard was a carefully considered decision made independently from recommendations regarding ESC and collision mitigation technologies recently issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). As previously reported, based on its findings on fatal crashes in 2016 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Baltimore, Maryland, the agency recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandate that new school buses be equipped with collision avoidance systems, and reiterated a past recommendation that NHTSA require that stability control systems be installed on newly manufactured commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
IC Bus began considering the move to making ESC and collision mitigation technologies standard about two years ago, and began working on a product development program with Bendix. After the Chattanooga crash, the school bus manufacturer began looking more seriously into the safety technologies.
“We wanted to mitigate a potential accident like that,” Reed said in an interview.
Meanwhile, as IC Bus continued to work with Bendix on development, NHTSA made ESC systems a requirement on large trucks and some buses beginning in 2017 (school buses are exempt from the requirement). Navistar, IC’s parent company, was making ESC standard on its trucks, and collision mitigation on its LT Series trucks, Reed said.
“The scale of offering it from the truck side and seamlessly bringing it over to the bus side made it easier for us to make that decision and move it forward,” she added.
The company also sought to bring its buses within financial reach of its customers even with the additional technologies, making them part of the standard price of the school bus.
“At the end of the day, we know it is the right thing to do for the industry and our customers,” Reed said.