The National Safety Commission Alerts

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Anti-Rollover Technology for New Vehicles Urged by DOT

New Initiative Could Save Over 10,000 Lives Per Year

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a new bid requiring auto manufacturers to make electronic stability control (ESC) a standard feature on all new passenger automobiles. According to the NHTSA, installing ESC in vehicles would save more than 10,000 lives a year.

Commencing with the 2009 model year, auto manufacturers would be required to begin outfitting passenger autos under 10,000 pounds with ESC. The feature would become standard equipment on all vehicles by the 2012 model year.

Virtually all rollover crashes occur after a vehicle leaves the road. In situations where a vehicle would normally skid out of control, ESC systems use automated computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to help the driver stay in control of the car or truck. The NHTSA's 2004 study indicated that ESC lessened fatalities in single-vehicle crashes by 63 percent for SUVs and 30 percent for passenger cars.

Electronic stability control for cars is "the greatest life saving improvement since the safety belt," said NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason.

The NHTSA calculates that annually, ESC will save between 5,300 and 10,300 lives and avert between 168,000 and 252,000 injuries. Between 4,200 and 5,400 of the more than 10,000 deaths that occur each year as a result of rollover crashes could be prevented by deploying ESC.

The cost is estimated to be $111 per vehicle on vehicles that already include ABS brakes, according the NHTSA's new proposal.

In 2004, the NHTSA began urging manufacturers to voluntarily install ESC as standard equipment on vehicles. Since then, almost 29 percent of all 2006 models, including 57 percent of SUVs, have been equipped with ESC.

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