Auto Service World
News   June 4, 2003   by Auto Service World

Stability Control Would Reduce Crashes by One Third, Say Studies


Five separate studies predict that the use of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems could significantly reduce death and injury suffered in some types of crashes.
The studies corroborate efforts by the ESC Coalition and leading automotive safety experts to educate consumers on the benefits of ESC systems and the impact this technology has on improving the overall safety of passenger cars and light trucks.
The five international studies, from Mercedes and DEKRA Automotive Research in Germany; the Swedish National Road Administration, the European Accident Causation; and Toyota in Japan, provide significant data supporting the claims that ESC can prevent crashes and help save thousands of lives.
Despite ESC’s reported effectiveness, only six percent of vehicles on the road in the United States are equipped with it. The ESC Coalition is encouraged that these revealing finds will help underscore the importance of ESC, especially to U.S. consumers, legislators and other industry decision makers.
The ESC Coalition’s educational campaign urges consumers to request this active safety technology — which augments the passive restraints (air bags and seat belts) — when purchasing a new vehicle.
“During my 20-year tenure with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we were able to help drivers adopt life saving mechanisms such as seatbelts and airbags,” said Adele Derby, former Associate Administrator of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a current member of the ESC Coalition’s Advisory Panel.
“ESC, with its remarkable capability to help prevent car crashes, is yet another life saving technology that consumers must consider when buying a new vehicle.”
Mercedes data indicates that the installation of ESC as standard equipment on all of its vehicles has resulted in a 29 percent reduction in single-vehicle crashes and 15 percent fewer crashes overall. Based on these figures, the widespread installation of ESC in the United States could save as many as 5,000 lives and nearly $35 billion in economic losses annually. This study, which implements German government data, is especially significant because all new Mercedes vehicles are equipped with ESC as standard equipment.
DEKRA Automotive Research in Germany indicates a 27 percent reduction in serious loss-of-control crashes. It also reports that 37 percent of corner accidents are definitively influenced by ESC, confirming the Mercedes findings.
The European Accident Causation survey, conducted throughout Europe, shows that ESC had a positive influence on the total number of loss-of- control accidents. Similarly, the Swedish National Road Administration study shows that ESC was found to reduce accidents with personal injuries. It goes on to recommend the implementation of ESC in new cars as quickly as possible and also advises consumers to choose vehicles with ESC, especially in countries with wet and icy roads.
A study by Toyota in Japan reports that vehicles with ESC showed a 35 percent reduction of single-vehicle crashes, and a 30 percent reduction of head-on crashes. The study also confirms Mercedes’ conclusion that ESC is more effective in higher speed ranges when vehicle dynamics play a greater role and when the crashes that occur are more severe.
Formed in 2003, the ESC Coalition was established to inform consumers and other key audiences about the benefits of ESC systems. It is a joint effort of two of the largest automotive technology suppliers, Robert Bosch Corporation and Continental Teves.


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