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How Electronic Stability Control Saves Lives

A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that electronic stability control (ESC) has saved an increasing number of driver’s lives every year since the technology was required in all new vehicles.

ESC works by applying the brakes electronically on each separate wheel to help keep directional control of a vehicle when it senses a slide or unstable conditions in the car. The report estimated that between 2008 and 2010 electronic stability control had saved 2,202 lives.

The NHTSA report discovered that 634 lives were saved in 2008 and in 2009 a total of 705 lives were spared due to ESC. The numbers climbed even higher in 2010 with 863 lives being saved, 497 of those were in passenger cars and the remaining 366 were in light trucks.

Electronic Stability Control Helps in Rollovers

Another NHTSA study which was released over the summer broke down a steep drop that was seen in roadway injuries and deaths. The report found that it was very likely that the reason drivers were getting into crashes less and less is due to “remarkable improvements to vehicle safety.”

The study also found that there was a big drop in rollover accidents which is a type of crash that an ESC system is very good at preventing. While the rollover is a very rare type of crash, it is one of the most dangerous. The study showed that rollover accidents had dropped roughly 6 percent each model year between 2000 and 2008.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) releases a Most Wanted list each year which indicates the changes it would like to see on the roads and the cars driving on them. In the recent list they recommended ESC systems be required in commercial fleets in addition to passenger vehicles. The cited statistics from the Institute for Highway Safety that estimated that ESC prevented 439 fatal accidents every year in commercial vehicles.

David Strickland, an administrator with the NHTSA praised ESC in a recent statement, “NHTSA research has consistently shown ESC systems are especially effective in helping a driver maintain vehicle control and avoid some of the most dangerous types of crashes on the highway, including deadly vehicle rollover situations or in keeping drivers from completely running off the roadway.”

The Standards Started in 2007

In 2007 federal officials issued the first regulation in regards to ESC. They mandated that the life saving technology be installed in passenger cars and light-duty trucks using a phase in period. It required that all of these types of vehicles have ESC as standard equipment on their 2012 models.

The NHTSA claims that their estimates on the lives saved due to ESC might actually be a bit low. This was due to it being impossible to determine the exact number of cars that were equipped with ESC. They expect that over the next 10 to 15 years most vehicles on the road will be ESC equipped.

A recent report from the NHTSA found that electronic stability control has saved an increasing number of lives since it was required to be installed in new cars.