Burnaby, British Columbia – British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) Insurance is introducing a five per cent discount on collision premiums for vehicles equipped with electronic stability control (ESC).

ESC is a computer-controlled safety device that monitors the vehicle’s direction compared to the direction of the steering wheel. If the vehicle is in a skid or the tires spin, ESC will automatically apply braking to specific wheels and may cut engine power to help the driver regain control.

“By offering a discount, we hope to encourage more drivers to select a vehicle equipped with this technology,” said Heather Prizeman, BCAA Auto Insurance product manager. “In addition to being a proven safety device, ESC makes good economic sense, as ‘losing control’ is one of the leading causes of road crashes in Canada. We feel customers with safe driving practices, technical or otherwise, deserve to be rewarded with lower premiums.”

According to Canadian crash data from 2000 to 2005, vehicles equipped with ESC were involved in approximately 30 per cent fewer severe crashes due to loss of control. BCAA said that based on the data, if all passenger vehicles were equipped with ESC, there could be 255 fewer deaths and 1,440 fewer people seriously injured each year.

The U.S. Department of Transportation now requires all new cars sold in the U.S. to be equipped with ESC by model year 2012. Transport Canada is currently working on similar regulations. Currently, only five per cent of Canadians have vehicles equipped with the system.

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