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Electronic Stability Controls Could Prevent 190,000 Auto Deaths And Injuries Worldwide: Report

A new report calls for automobile manufacturers across the world to install new crash avoidance technology in all new model vehicles by 2020, citing the ability to save tens of thousands of lives and avoid billions in economic impact resulting from preventable accidents.

The UK-based Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) released a Costs and Benefits of Electronic Stability Control report on January 13, which recommends that all G20 countries adhere to the United Nations regulations on electronic stability control (ESC), which is a is a fairly inexpensive computerized technology that improves a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction.

ESC technology is designed to prevent loss of vehicle control by automatically applying the brakes to help the driver steer the vehicle in the intended direction. The brakes are automatically applied to individual wheels to counter under or over-steering events.

Currently, only thirteen countries out of the “Group of Twenty” (G20), adhere to United Nations regulations on ESC. The remaining seven nations which include Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa are being called upon to implement ESC as a mandatory safety features included in all new 2020 vehicles.

The G20 is an international forum for global economic cooperation made of 20 modern nations, which collectively account for 98% of automobile manufacturing.

Researchers say that if ESC regulations were mandated across all 20 countries, between approximately 42,000 and 60,000 lives could be saved and more than 150,000 serious injuries could be prevented by 2030, saving countries an estimated $21.5 billion in economic losses.

ESC technology hardly has any impact on vehicle pricing, according to the report. Researchers say it could be realistically installed on vehicles which already have anti-lock braking systems for as little as $50 per vehicle. The report also notes that for every dollar spent by consumers in purchasing a vehicle with ESC technology, there is nearly a triple economic benefit to society due to avoiding loss of life and serious injuries.

The World Health Organization reported the number of global road traffic deaths reached 1.35 million in 2016, and found, of all the safety features available, ESC was regarded as the most important one for crash avoidance. ESC has been found to significantly reduce the number of deaths in loss-of-control collisions

The United States was the first G20 country to fully adopt ESC regulation in 2011. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 1,949 lives were saved in 2015 due to vehicles being equipped with ESC, which is an increase over the estimated number of lives saved in previous years.

According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) collectively, ESC has saved more than 7,000 lives during the 5-year period from 2011 to 2015 in the United States alone.

TRL researchers say the sooner countries adopt the regulation, the more lives will be saved and fewer serious roadway injuries will be experienced by its citizens. Of the remaining seven countries, Argentina and Brazil are due to start applying ESC regulations in 2020.

If none of the remaining countries take action to implement ESC regulation, only 44% of the worldwide vehicle fleet will reach installation of ESC by 2030. However, research indicated if all remaining seven countries take action in 2020 then as much as 85% of vehicle fleets could contain ESC by 2030, which is a significant step toward the United Nation’s target of 100%.

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