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Old 09-13-2006, 09:03 PM   #1
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U.S. plans to require stability control on all new cars

News bulletin
U.S. plans to require stability control on all new cars

September 13, 2006

Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The government, impressed by the promise of anti-rollover technology, is planning to require automakers to include electronic stability control devices on all new vehicles in the coming years.

The technology has been hailed by automakers, suppliers and safety advocates for its potential in reducing traffic deaths and rollovers. The government’s top traffic safety official has said it could have the greatest impact on auto safety since the arrival of seat belts.

About 40% of new vehicles have it as standard equipment and auto industry officials expect it to be available on all vehicles by 2010. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is set to unveil proposed rules for stability control on Thursday that also will include testing standards for auto manufacturers. NHTSA officials have declined to release details.

One study found that stability control could lead to a reduction of 10,000 deaths a year if all vehicles had the technology, a significant chunk of the more than 43,000 people killed on the roads annually.

“These are staggering statistics compared to most safety technologies that are installed on the vehicles today. This technology will save lives,” said William Kozyra, president and CEO of Continental Automotive Systems, North America, a leading supplier of stability control.

Kozyra called it “the most important automotive safety technology of our generation.” The crash avoidance technology senses when a driver may lose control, automatically applying brakes to individual wheels to help make it stable and avoid a rollover. Many sport utility vehicles, vans and pickups have the equipment.

NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason has said the agency will mandate the equipment, estimating it would save 10,600 lives when fully implemented into the fleet. During a July hearing before Congress, she said it “could be the greatest safety innovation since the safety belt.”

Rollovers have had particularly fatal consequences, leading to more than 10,000 deaths a year despite accounting for only about 3 percent of all crashes. SUVs and other vehicles with high centers of gravity have been susceptible to rollovers.

Automakers have been receptive to the technology and have indicated little resistance in the decision to mandate the equipment because they have been implementing it onto their vehicles.

Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday that it would make it standard equipment in all new vehicles by the end of 2009 while General Motors Corp. has said it will be included in all vehicles by the end of 2010. Virtually all Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles have it as an option and it has been standard on all Toyota SUVs since the 2004 model year.

Joan Claybrook, a former NHTSA administrator and head of Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog, called electronic stability control “breakthrough technology” but said it would be difficult to predict how many lives it could save.

Early in the development of the air bag, she said initial studies predicted it could save about 9,000 people a year, much higher than the 2,300 lives it saves annually. “Until you get it into production and onto vehicles, you don’t know how large the numbers are going to be,” Claybrook said.

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety earlier this year predicted 10,000 deaths could be prevented a year if passenger vehicles had the technology. The study found stability control reduced the risk of single-vehicle rollovers involving SUVs by 80 percent.

One of the benefits of stability control is that it doesn’t require anything from the driver. While other crash avoidance technologies, such as lane departure warning, require the driver to react, stability control senses the vehicle veering out of control and stabilizes it.

“There really isn’t any downsides that we’re seeing,” said Russ Rader, an IIHS spokesman. “ESC is in a unique club with only seat belts and air bags for it’s lifesaving potential.”

Automakers caution that seat belts will remain the most essential tool in avoiding death or injury in a crash. Seat belts save an estimated 15,000 motorist a year, prompting the government to push primary enforcement laws across the nation.

Robert Yakushi, Nissan North America Inc.’s director of product safety, environmental, said the technology “shouldn’t be characterized as a cure-all for all handling situations” but something that helps drivers maintain control in some situations.

“If everyone depends on vehicle stability control, I think, to save them in every situation, I think that builds overconfidence in the driver,” Yakushi said, stressing that “the driver is key to vehicle safety.”
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:05 PM   #2
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Auto news
ROLLOVER PROTECTION: Ford embraces stability control
Action is ahead of U.S. standard

September 13, 2006


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
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Old 09-13-2006, 11:19 PM   #3
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GOOD. 10,000 lives saved per year is a huge impact. That's some excellent news if you ask me. I bet more than a few of us either have been, or know someone who's been in a rollover. My brother was in one years ago. Luckily, he was wearing his seatbelt and he had a roll cage installed. His passenger lost a finger, though.
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Old 09-14-2006, 07:08 AM   #4
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Stability control systems are a must, its too bad for the luxury car makers that everyone will have that technology, but its good for the rest of us. Probably one of the best inventions since the seatbelt in my opinion.
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