• 9
Monday's rumor became reality Thursday when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its proposal to require auto manufacturers to install electronic stability control as a standard feature in all new cars.
Standard equipment ESC would be required on passenger vehicles under 10,000 pounds starting with the 2009 model year. All new vehicles would be required to have ESC by the 2012 model year (September 2011).

The agency estimates that ESC will save between 5,300 and 10,300 lives annually and prevent between 168,000 and 252,000 injuries. The cost of adding ESC to an ABS-equipped vehicle is estimated to be $111.

The agency has been urging automakers to voluntarily add ESC to their vehicles since 2004, and almost 29 percent of 2006 light vehicles are ESC-equipped. With various manufacturers already announcing their intent to broaden the availability of ESC in their model ranges, the installation rate without the proposed regulation would increase to 71 percent in 2011.

NHTSA will allow exceptions to the new rule "for some vehicles manufactured in stages or by small volume manufacturers." In addition, an ESC "on/off" switch will be permitted to allow the driver to disable the system for special circumstances like track days, driving in deep snow and driving with mismatched tire sizes (a spacesaver spare, for example).

A new safety regulation naturally requires a new test, and the ESC will be tested using a steering robot to swerve the vehicle in a predetermined pattern while the vehicle is moving at 50 mph. According to the NHTSA, the test is severe enough to cause most vehicles to spin out without ESC.

You can download the proposed regulation and the background information here (pdf file).

[Source: NHTSA]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      #1 yes, this does mean ABS will also be a standard feature as ESC cannot work without it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Note in all the news article that the idea of consumers to choose if they wish to pay for Electronic Stability Contol is never mentioned.

      What if I'm a retiree in a small town and just want a small, cheap pick-up to drive down to the store once a week.

      Sorry, corporations have worked with the government to insure such a vehicle is not available.

      • 8 Years Ago
      I've got a better idea. Why don't we teach people how to ACTUALLY DRIVE in this country!! I don't know about your's but the requirements for getting a license in NC are an absolute joke.

      #3: Driving skill is what helps you avoid an accident. All these electronic nannies should only be considered as backups.

      #5: Your post should read "When will people learn that HOW you drive impacts me?"

      As long as there's a way to turn it off, I suppose it OK. I'm just really sick and tired of people in this country thinking they can make better driver by throwing money at the car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ah the safety natzis are at it again. When will these people learn 27 airbags,traction control this,and anti-slip that will not make up for poor driving. Another example of the government deciding whats right for you,thanks to the Joan Claybrook's of the world.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Since it isn't required by specialty/low-volume manufacturers and is also legal to have a on/off switch, I'm actually all for these new rules. Any sports car manufacturer who doesn't give the driver the ability to turn the stability control off will be shooting themselves in the foot, so I believe it won't be an issue for enthusiasts.

      A good stability control computer can actually be very useful in inclimate conditions. Of course it only protects against minor "oops" mistakes. No amount of computer technology can take on the overwhelming stupidity of the average Joe behind the wheel.
      • 8 Years Ago
      And, Shane Eudy, I am sick and tired of people in this country thinking that safety features create poor drivers. If you're telling me that the billions of dollars that went into designing cars that are safe from side-impacts ends up causing more accidents, you need your head examined.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #2, shut up. In this area where we get a lot of snow and ice in the winter, ABS and stability control both help you safely avoid objects in an emergency. By your reasoning, you shouldn't ever need auto insurance, either, because if you're a good driver, nothing bad will ever happen to you.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If you think it's great, super. Go out and buy one of the many cars that has it. But why make it mandatory? traveller is 100% right. All legislation is either driven by a) money or b) reellection (to get more money)
      • 8 Years Ago
      #2, when will people learn that what YOU drive impacts me? Either directly, as your vehicle flips over, rolls across the median, into me in the oncoming lane, or less dramatically as I sit in traffic waiting for them to clean up the mess "you have the right to create"?

      No one said this is a replacement for better driving skills.