Thatcham supports worldwide fitment of ESC

As the ‘Stop the Crash Partnership’ kicked off a new worldwide vehicle safety campaign by calling on the Brazilian government to mandate Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Thatcham Research experts backed up the initiative.

‘In Europe, ESC has been mandatory since 2012 and we’ve seen first-hand how effective it can be in preventing the driver from losing control in a skid,’ said Andrew Miller, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research and president of Euro NCAP.

ESC works by automatically comparing the steering actions carried out by the driver to what the vehicle is actually doing. If the ESC senses that the vehicle is veering from the required course – a skid – it automatically brakes selected wheels to bring the car back into line.

A study in 2007 for the UK Department for Transport by Loughborough University showed that in the UK, vehicles equipped with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) were 25% less likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those without it.  Meaning that if every vehicle on the road was fitted with ESC, it would equate to approximately 380 fewer fatal accidents each year.

The study concluded that ESC was especially effective in helping to prevent crashes that involved a vehicle skidding or overturning, with the potential to reduce serious accidents like this by up to 59%. These compelling statistics, alongside other European wide studies, were instrumental in helping to persuade European legislators to take action in 2012 and mandate ESC across Europe.

Overall fatalities on UK roads are now 45% lower than a decade earlier in 2014, despite an increase in the number of vehicles on the road and whilst this cannot be attributable to any single factor, it is likely that we are seeing the benefits of a range of additional safety technologies including ESC and more recently Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).

‘There can be no argument with the benefits of Electronic Stability Control and we think it’s high time that all drivers world-wide had access to this life saving technology. We are delighted to be a partner of the Stop The Crash campaign and welcome this latest announcement from Brazil,’ added Andrew Miller.