Thomas Built Buses is the second large school bus manufacturer to announce it is offering electronic stability controls, one of two upgrades being introduced this fall to improve driver control. Meanwhile, the company is planning an electrical harness upgrade next year to thwart water and debris damage.
The High Point, N.C., manufacture is partnering with Meritor WABCO to offer factory-installed SmartTrac ESC on the Saf-T-Liner C2 line. Meritor said SmartTrac ESC automatically engages when it senses bus instability on the road. Stephen Hampson, president and GM of Meritor WABCO, explained that the system is designed to assist drivers who are often unaware that vehicle dynamics are about to become critically unstable until it is too late. The result can be preventable rollover and loss-of-control crashes.
“Meritor WABCO’s SmartTrac ESC 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,” he added. “The system applies the appropriate brakes selectively and better aligns the vehicle with the driver’s intended path of travel.”
The SmartTrac ESC system works with the Saf-T-Liner C2 air disc and air drum brakes and supports a driver in difficult road conditions. However, Thomas pointed out in a statement, the driver maintains ultimate responsibility of safe driving practices in all road conditions.
This fall, Thomas is also introducing Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes for its Type D Saf-T-Liner EFX. The company added that the brakes will compliment the C2 and HDX that already offer Bendix air disc brakes.
Thomas added that the Bendix ADB22X air brakes offer enhanced control, shorter and safer stopping distances and longer life and improved performance over standard brake systems.
Early next year, Thomas is also introducing severe duty chassis protection for the HDX and EFX. Already an option on the C2, the severe duty harness consisting of durable, braided nylon upgrades the main chassis electrical harness that protects the electrical system from water and debris.
“All three of these innovations are testaments to our commitment to continuous improvement,” said Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “We are dedicated to building and designing buses that are safe, efficient, and provide our customers the lowest total cost of ownership possible. These innovations help us do just that.”