ROLLOVER PROTECTION: Ford embraces stability control
Action is ahead of U.S. standard
September 13, 2006
BY JUSTIN HYDE
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is set to unveil on Thursday its rule to require stability control, which has been shown to dramatically reduce crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said earlier this year ESC could prevent 10,000 fatal crashes a year if it came standard in every vehicle.
Ford has built 4 million vehicles globally with electronic stability control systems. Such systems sense when a vehicle is on the verge of skidding, applying the brakes and slowing the engine to keep the driver in control.
General Motors Corp. has said it will make stability control standard by 2010, and most automakers offer the system as standard equipment on SUVs.
Electronic stability systems can reduce the chance of a rollover by 80%, the insurance institute says.
While the optional systems can cost as little as $200, ESC sometimes is sold only as a bundle with other options that can push the price to $2,000.
NHTSA has declined to discuss the rule before its release, but the agency is expected to require stability control on all vehicles by 2010 or 2012.
The proposed rule also is expected to address testing standards for stability control systems and might say whether automakers have to refer to their systems by a standard name to reduce confusion.
Contact JUSTIN HYDE at 202-906-8204 or firstname.lastname@example.org