U.S. To Require Stability Control In All Vehicles

New technology is expected to save between 5,300 and 9,600 lives.

Electronic stability control must be included in all new vehicles sold in the United States by 2012, the U.S. government said April 5. The new crash prevention technology keeps drivers from losing control on slippery roads or in emergency situations with the aid of automatic computer-controlled braking. It has been shown to prevent deadly rollovers.

Standardized electronic stability control (ESC) is expected to save between 5,300 and 9,600 lives annually and prevent between 168,000 and 238,000 injuries on U.S. roadways, the department of transportation said.

The estimated average cost of electronic stability control is approximately $111 per vehicle, assuming the model already features antilock brakes. Automakers must begin to equip their vehicles with the technology in the 2009 model and must offer it as standard equipment by September 2011.

"Like airbags and seat belts, 10 years down the road we will look back at the new ESC technology and wonder how we ever drove a car without it," Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said when unveiling the new rules at the New York auto show.

"ESC technology will put the brakes on crashes and help drivers keep control of their cars in critical situations," National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Nicole Nason added.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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