Electronic Stability Control Saves Lives

26 JUNE, 2017

New research has revealed 41 lives lost on Victorian roads last year could have been saved if the cars involved had been fitted with common safety technology.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan today joined researchers to discuss the potentially life-saving benefits of Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

The Transport Accident Commission, Monash University Accident Research Centre and the Swedish Transport Administration have studied the likely impact of ESC in all fatal crashes involving lane departures last year.

The study found that, of the 291 deaths on Victorian roads last year, 140 resulted from lane departure crashes and 41 could have been prevented if the vehicles involved had functioning ESC.

Most of the preventable deaths happened on country roads.

Researchers also found that in some fatal crashes, cars were fitted with ESC but the feature had been turned off.

The study demonstrates the role vehicle safety technology will play in Victoria’s Towards Zero vision for a future free of road deaths.

ESC senses when a vehicle is losing control due to oversteering and understeering, and automatically applies braking to individual wheels to put the car back on its intended path.

The average age of a car on Victorian roads is about 10 years. Australian Bureau of Statistics data from 2016 shows 31 per cent of registered cars in Victoria are fitted with ESC.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan: “People make mistakes on our roads but no one should die because of those mistakes – that’s why the cars we drive and the safety features in them are so important.”

“Our cars – like our travel speeds and our choices – play an important role in keeping people safe on our roads and moving Towards Zero.”

TAC lead director road safety Samantha Cockfield:“Features like ESC intervene at that critical moment and can turn a potentially fatal mistake into a bit of a fright for the people inside the car.”

“If you are buying a used car, I would encourage you to insist on ESC and side curtain airbags as an absolute minimum because these features can really save lives.