It’s easy to take safety features for granted, but according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration three-year study, features like electronic stability control (ESC) are making a dramatic, life-saving impact. In fact, the NHTSA estimates that stability control saved 2,202 lives over the three year period from 2008 to 2010 alone.
“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,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. The government mandated ESC on all cars and light-duty trucks in 2007, and the technology was gradually adapted on to new cars.
ESC systems use computer-controlled braking in situations where a driver may be losing control of the vehicle. And there appears to be a direct correlation with the number of cars that have ESC and the number of lives saved. The study estimated that the system saved more lives each successive year: 634 lives saved in 2008, 705 lives in 2009, and 863 lives in 2010. In May of this year the NHTSA proposed to have heavier duty commercial trucks and buses equipped with ESC. The agency says it could prevent over half of all rollover crashed and 14 percent of loss-of-control accidents in the larger vehicles.