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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims that making electronic stability control (ESC) a standard feature in the US could reduce auto deaths by up to one-third, which would result in a whopping 11,000 fewer fatalities per year.

The institute's numbers show that otherwise identical vehicles have a 43 percent reduction in fatal crashes when equipped with ESC. Not only were single-vehicle crashes (most often occurring when a vehicle loses control and leaves the roadway) reduced, but high-speed multiple-car collisions were also less common. Not surprisingly, the number of low-speed crashes remained the same, as ESC doesn't do much good in a parking lot unless some serious hooliganism is involved.

While some call for specific federal legislation that would mandate the technology on all motor vehicles, an upcoming revision to NHTSA's rollover test that will invoke a dynamic handling maneuver is said to effectively require ESC on most vehicles. Approximately 70 percent of SUVs and 40 percent of passenger cars sold in the US in the current model year have ESC as standard equipment.

We've explored the limits of electronic stability control on several SUVs that have recently rolled through the Autoblog Garage, and we can state that modern electronic babysitters are indeed amazing at arresting our intentional attempts at upsetting the vehicles. As such, we definitely support the idea of ESC as standard equipment, just so long as each vehicle also includes a means to completely deactivate it.  

[Source: Money/CNN]




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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Gil, ESC is just a general term for a stability program. ESP is a Bosch trademark
      • 8 Years Ago
      I press my ESC button ALL THE TIME, yet my Windows XP always crashes.

      Are we talking about the same thing?
      • 8 Years Ago
      ESC? Never heard of it.

      Do you mean ESP? (Electronic Stability Program)
      • 8 Years Ago
      This seems a bit like developing a stove that can turn instantly cold when you touch it -- you might avoid a few burns, but you also never learn not to touch a hot stove. I'm concerned that our reliance on well-trained electrons will make us both dumber and more reckless.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Absolutley - I'm also fine with this as long as it can be deactivated (at least on cars)
      • 8 Years Ago
      also, icerabbit, the first thing that should be mandatory is DRLs (daytime running lights)! I say this because when it is raining people don't use their headlights even though it is the law in many states.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "ESC? Never heard of it.

      Do you mean ESP? (Electronic Stability Program)"

      No, I mean electronic stability control or ESC, as stated in the first line of the post. Electronic Stability Program is Bosch's trademark for ESC.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Here's a not-so-novel idea: How about actually *training Americans to drive* when we take our license tests?"

      A great idea, but the safety nannies start getting scared any time someone talks about introducing skid control into a driver's ed cirriculum. If you teach kids how to handle a loss of traction, apparently that'll make 'em into reckless drifters, or so the argument goes.

      In my opinion, there's no replacement for good driving skills, but there's also a place for some assistance, because unfortunately not everyone is always operating at 100% when they get behind the wheel. Whether it's driving while drowsy, getting distracted by passengers, or operating in unfamiliar conditions or with a different vehicle, these electronic driving aids can sure come in handy. Just to make it clear, though, I don't view them as a replacement for proper training and responsible driving habits.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey PJ!

      That would involve taking actual responsiblity for our actions, and Lord knows nobody wants to do that! ;-P
      • 8 Years Ago
      #3 Gil,
      What rock have you been under? ESC=Electronic Stability Control.

      Here's a hint-search engines can be your friend and prevent you from looking like an idiot.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sorry, the above post was meant to refer to number 6. See I can't count, lucky I've only ever had ONE accident.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This would be great for MOST drivers, but I too want the choice.

      Porsche doesnt offer it on the latest GT3, will the law require these uber-sports cars get it? Even if its deactivateable theres something sublime about a true sports car that doesnt have ESP.

      However why would you want to shut it off on an SUV? Unlike traction control, which (on older cars anyway) makes travel in snow nearly impossible, ESP seems good in all conditions. Why anyone in an SUV thats barely dirt-road-rated would want to turn it off is beyond me.

      Then again, maybe Ferraris should all have it mandatory, seems no one can keep an Enzo on the road...
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