– The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that all future vehicles will be required to have Electronic Stability Control (ESP). In making the announcement, NHTSA cited its analysis showing that cars equipped with stability control are 35 percent less likely to be involved in a collision. Additionally, SUVs with stability control are involved in 67 percent fewer accidents than SUVs without the system. SUVs usually have a higher center of gravity, and ESP has been found to be especially effective in reducing rollovers.
NHTSA analyzed more than 40,000 collisions over a period of six years, focusing on similar vehicles with and without stability control. The results include similar reductions in fatal accidents as well. ESP-equipped cars had 30 percent fewer fatal crashes, and SUVS with ESP were 63 percent less likely to be in a deadly collision.
Now being used by other manufacturers, stability control systems reduce the likelihood of all fatal accidents by 43 percent and fatal single-vehicle crashes by 56 percent, according to another accident study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). When the IIHS recently updated the results of their 2004 accident study, they found that stability control provides even more life-saving benefits for SUVs.
The NHTSA and IIHS analysis corroborates a Mercedes-Benz study from 2002 that revealed a 40 percent reduction in “loss of control” accidents after the company made ESP standard equipment on all models. Studies by other automakers and the University of Iowa found similar results.
According to Mercedes-Benz, it brought the industry’s first ABS and traction control systems to consumers in the 1980s, as well as collaborating with Bosch to invent ESP stability control in 1995. The new safety system made its debut on the 1996 S-Class line, became standard equipment on most Mercedes-Benz models by the 2000-model year, and is standard on all Mercedes-Benz models today.