HIGH POINT, N.C. — Thomas Built Buses has added electronic stability control (ESC) as a standard, factory-installed feature for some of its school buses, the company announced on Tuesday.
The standard ESC feature applies to all new Saf-T-Liner C2 diesel and compressed natural gas school buses produced on or after July 23.
In partnership with Meritor Wabco, SmartTrac ESC has been available as an option since 2015 as part of Thomas Built’s BusWise Technologies suite.
“Electronic stability control is a key safety innovation to aid the driver in maneuvering school buses in slippery or high-risk situations,” said Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “Not only does it further increase the safety of a school bus but, by avoiding accidents, school districts also can save money on repairs and avoid the downtime that would result from an accident.”
Thomas Built said that when drivers are faced with the risk of a rollover or loss of control, they usually are not aware that vehicle dynamics are about to become critically unstable. Meritor Wabco’s SmartTrac ESC automatically intervenes by comparing the vehicle’s actual movement to performance models, using various vehicle sensors.
If the vehicle shows a tendency to leave the driver’s intended path or exceeds a critical acceleration threshold, SmartTrac ESC helps the driver maintain control, according to Meritor Wabco. The system works with the Saf-T-Liner C2’s air disc and drum brakes to slow movement and align the vehicle with the driver’s intended path of travel.
Thomas Built Buses noted that the driver remains responsible for safe driving practices in all road conditions.
Thomas Built also pointed out that the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both recommend that manufacturers install ESC on all buses. ESC is required for all new school buses in Canada.
Note: An earlier version of this story said that eight U.S. states require ESC, which was incorrect.