U.S. to Require Electronic Stability Control on Cars by 2012

April 5, 2007

In a move that the government says could ultimately save up to 10,000 lives each year on U.S. roadways, the nation’s top transportation official today announced plans to make new crash prevention technology standard equipment on every new passenger vehicle sold in America by 2012.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Nicole R. Nason announced the final rule to require the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) on all new passenger vehicles during a tour with auto makers at the New York International Auto Show.

ESC uses automatic computer controlled braking to keep drivers from losing control on slippery roads or in emergency maneuvers, in many cases preventing deadly rollovers from occurring.

“This technology will save thousands of lives. Like airbags and seat belts, ten years down the road we will look back at the new ESC technology and wonder how we ever drove a car without it,” Peters said.

“ESC technology will put the brakes on crashes and help drivers keep control of their cars in critical situations,” Nason said. “ESC works, it will save lives, and it can give American drivers and passengers the peace of mind that comes from knowing their vehicles have some of the most technologically advanced safety equipment available.”

The final rule will require all manufacturers to begin equipping passenger vehicles with ESC starting with model year 2009, and to have the feature available as standard equipment on all new passenger vehicles by the 2012 model year (September 2011).

The agency estimates ESC will save between 5,300 and 9,600 lives annually and prevent between 168,000 and 238,000 injuries. The estimated average cost of ESC is approximately $111 per vehicle, assuming the model already features ABS brakes.

A copy of the final regulation and the accompanying regulatory analysis can obtained at http://www.safercar.gov/esc/Rule.pdf.

More information on the ESC technology can be found at http://nhtsa.gov/portal/site/nhtsa/menuitem.012c081c5966f0ca3253ab10cba046a0/

Source: U. S. Department of Transportation

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