WASHINGTON - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is engaged in a study about the potential benefits of requiring stability control systems for tractor trailer trucks, and the agency hopes to complete its research before the end of the year, the Associated Press reported. 

Nathaniel Beuse, director of crash avoidance standards at NHTSA, discussed the study's progress during a hearing of the National Transportation Safety Board earlier this month. He estimated that stability control systems already on the market for tractor trailer trucks could prevent nearly 3,500 rollover accidents and save approximately 106 lives a year if the systems were required on such trucks. He said those estimates were based on tests that NHTSA conducted with researchers from the University of Michigan. That research found that the systems could prevent nearly 4,400 injuries a year. 

Tank trucks are particularly susceptible to rollovers because the weight distribution of the liquid they haul can shift suddenly, causing an imbalance. Tank trucks represent just 6 percent of large trucks, but they account for 31 percent of all fatal commercial truck rollover crashes. 

Tank trucks also pose special safety concerns because they often haul hazardous cargo.