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Patrick DeBlase
Patrick DeBlase
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Big Auto to Include Anti-Rollover Technology in Upcoming Models

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Today, the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that beginning with the 2009 model year, all vehicles must be equipped with “electronic stability control” (ESC). This feature drastically reduces the potential for vehicle rollovers. Auto makers typically do not chomp at the bit to introduce safety features in the vehicles they sell to consumers. Rather, it is governmental regulation and victims’ lawsuits that bring about change resulting in safer products including vehicles. This is no exception.

As set forth on the NHTSA website:

A new proposal to require auto manufacturers to install electronic stability control (ESC) as a standard feature on all new passenger vehicles has the potential to save more than 10,000 lives every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced today.

The proposed rule, announced today, would require all manufacturers to begin equipping passenger vehicles under 10,000 pounds with ESC starting with the 2009 model year and to have the feature available as standard equipment on all vehicles by the 2012 model year (September 2011).

ESC systems use automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to help the driver maintain control in situations where a vehicle without ESC would skid out of control and likely leave the road. Nearly all rollover crashes occur after a vehicle leaves the road. A 2004 study by NHTSA estimated that ESC reduced fatalities in single-vehicle crashes by 30 percent for passenger cars and 63 percent for SUVs.

NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason called electronic stability control for cars “the greatest life saving improvement since the safety belt.”

NHTSA says that the cost per vehicle of ESC is $111.