Electronic Stability Control Saves Lives
December 1, 2012

Report: High-Tech Braking Systems Have Saved Thousands Of Lives

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online

Electronic stability control (ESC) technology in automobiles has prevented thousands of fatalities in the US over the past three years, according to a new study released by federal safety regulators on Friday.

In the joint report, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that that the high-tech braking systems, which are required on all cars since 2011 and all light-duty trucks since 2007, were responsible for saving over 2,200 lives in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

"The NHTSA study comes on the heels of a call earlier this month by the National Transportation Safety Board for a wider range of collision avoidance technologies to also be made mandatory on new vehicles," the Wall Street Journal explained.

The newspaper also noted that the information in the study contains "estimates of lives saved" based upon "an analysis of fatal accident data for the three years. Federal researchers compared fatalities in vehicles with stability control as standard equipment to the deaths recorded for vehicles that didn´t have standard stability control."

Electronic breaking systems, which were implemented by many automakers before they were mandated to do so, were found in only 34 percent of light trucks and in 20 percent of cars in 2006, the Journal reported. However, four years later, ESC technology could be found in more than three-fourths of all automobiles and 87% of trucks, according to the new study.

Researchers from the USDOT and the NHTSA estimate that 634 lives were saved by the devices in 2008, 705 in 2009 and 863 in 2010, the agencies said in a statement. Now federal officials are attempting to build upon that success, according to Reuters.

"In May, the NHTSA proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard to require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on large commercial trucks and large buses for the first time," the news organization said. "The agency said applying the technology to the heavy-duty fleet could prevent up to 56 percent of rollover crashes each year and 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes in those vehicles."