June 15, 2006


Electronic stability control could prevent nearly one-third of all fatal crashes

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Arlington, Virginia – A report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that electronic stability control (ESC) could prevent nearly one-third of all fatal crashes, and reduce rollover risk by as much as 80 per cent. ESC is designed to help drivers retain control of their vehicles during high-speed manoeuvres or on slippery roads.

Previous research found that ESC significantly reduces the risk of fatal single-vehicle crashes; using additional data and a larger set of vehicle models, IIHS researchers have updated the 2004 results and report that ESC reduces the risk of fatal multiple-vehicle crashes by 32 per cent. The new research confirms that ESC also reduces the risk of all single-vehicle crashes by more than 40 per cent, and fatal ones by 56 per cent. The researchers estimate that if all vehicles were equipped with ESC, as many as 10,000 fatal crashes could be avoided in the U.S. each year.

In the United States, ESC is standard on 40 per cent of 2006 passenger vehicle models, and optional on another 15 per cent. The IIHS reports that it is standard on every 2006 Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Mercedes and Porsche model; Cadillac, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mini, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo offer at least optional ESC on all of their models. However, standard or optional ESC is limited to 25 per cent or fewer models from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Hummer, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Saturn, Subaru and Suzuki. The percentage of SUV models with standard ESC has been growing faster than for cars.

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