• Dec 6th 2012 at 9:30AM
  • 21
A Chevrolet Tahoe demonstrates ESC on an obstacle cours... A Chevrolet Tahoe demonstrates ESC on an obstacle course (Credit: GM).
There is often a debate over whether government regulation is good or bad. But in the case of Uncle Sam's mandate that all new cars have electronic stability control, the news is good. According to data assembled by Consumer Reports, 2,200 lives have been saved by the technology in three years.

The mandate for ESC systems kicked in September 1, 2011, but automakers were offering it on many new cars, trucks and SUVs ahead of the rule. Consumer Reports went back to 2008. By looking at data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, CR tallied the saved lives at 634 in 2008, 705 in 2009 and 863 in 2010.

How does ESC work? Sensors monitor a driver's intended path. When the ESC senses that the car is going off the intended path, the system kicks in to apply brake pressure to a specific wheel to prevent a car from sliding or spinning out of control.

These systems are especially appropriate to pickup trucks and SUVs with higher centers of gravity than passenger cars, pickup trucks that tow trailers and cars that tend to get driven fast by their owners--sports cars.

ESC systems can also be a god-send, when, for example a tread comes loose from a tire or a flat develops. In any vehicle, but especially SUVs and full-sized pickups, the systems do a great job of keeping the vehicle controllable by the driver. SUVs, especially larger ones, are prone to rollovers in these situations without ESC.

Are you interested in new car technology? Check out our Technology of The Year Award finalists here, and vote for what you think is the best idea.


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  • 21 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you think William`s story is great..., last pay cheque my sis basically also got paid $9026 grafting eighteen hours a week an their house and the're best friend's sister-in-law`s neighbour did this for three months and easily made over $9026 part time on their computer. the guidelines from this address, http://www.Cloud65.com
      Hello Paul
      • 2 Years Ago
      In July, 2009 I bought a 2010 Subaru Forester. This system was already standard in all Subarus then !SUbaru has always been ahead of the pack .
        wrxfrk16
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hello Paul
        Not in this case. I owned the same Forester, save mine was the turbocharged version. With the standard 2.5 engine, there's no need for stability control, that's what the best AWD system going is for. And in the turbo variant, the traction control actually hid the car's handling limits, which is really a negative.
      ccdae5
      • 2 Years Ago
      pretty soon only the rich will be able to afford to drive!
      Mitch
      • 2 Years Ago
      how about....learn how to drive.
      s27mewtwo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder if everyone complaining about this technology was also against raising safety standards in general? Airbags, seat belts, pssh only raising the cost of cars. High strength steel? Nah, forget it. ESC and traction control compliment a competent driver and can save those that are not. It reacts faster and before one would notice what is able to do. The modulation occurring is also beyond what one could perform with the standard controls available to them in the car.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't understand all the people chiming in "I've got ESC on my car already!" The author specifically acknowledged that many car makers had already started putting ESC in their cars well before this government mandate took place. Can you people read?? The author didn't say nobody had put ESC into their cars before Sept 1, 2011.
      George
      • 2 Years Ago
      My truck had esc when bought new the I got stuck in mud when I went to pull another truck out of the mud. To get unstuck I simply opend the hood and removed the esc fuse. With the ability to have all four wheels spining got me out, all the POS esc did was ndig me deeper. My truck will no longer have Bullshit esc.
      wrxfrk16
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great save two thousand now, kill twenty thousand down the road when we have a generation of drivers that have no clue about how cars actually handle. Go drive almost any modern, traction controlled equipped car which allows you to defeat it. Drive the same road under the same conditions at a decent clip, ESC on and off. It's staggering how much of a car's true nature these systems will hide, I've driven some that are almost night and day. What we need are people that actually know how to drive, who actually want to drive. Mandate a Miata, or a Mini for everyone's first car. Show people what a fun car actually is, show them how to drive, how to recognize the edge of grip and the limits. Maybe that will get some people out of their crossovers and SUV's and get the phones off their ears.
      • 2 Years Ago
      For your information, BMW had ASC, automatic stability control back in 1996 on their 325is.
      burgesswv
      • 2 Years Ago
      Too many female drivers ; This is the reason cars keep increasing in price. We men have no problems with stability control
      leegates83
      • 2 Years Ago
      another case of uncle sam sticking his nose in where it does'nt belong.
      Robert
      • 2 Years Ago
      Came standard on my 2008 Lincoln MKZ. It's great for the Chicago winters.
        wrxfrk16
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Robert
        Actually, it isn't. It's terrible, traction control reduces power and applies braking in low grip. In snow, you have wheelspin, applying the brakes just reduces traction in such scenarios. No traction control with careful throttle modulation and engine braking are what you want.
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