A report released at the end of last month indicates that electronic stability control (ESC) technology championed by transportation safety experts and required on new cars and trucks have saved more than 2,200 lives from 2008 through 2010.
The National Transportation Safety Board has called for ESC on all school buses, but the technology has only been mandated on model-year 2012 and newer light-duty trucks and passenger vehicles manufactured since Sept. 1 of last year. For all passenger cars, SUVs, vans and pickup trucks, FMVSS 126 requires the technology that uses computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to help drivers maintain control of a vehicle that is beginning to lose directional control and/or stability.
"NHTSA research has consistently shown ESC systems are especially effective in helping a driver maintain vehicle control and avoid some of the most dangerous types of crashes on the highway, including deadly vehicle rollover situations or in keeping drivers from completely running off the roadway," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
NHTSA also proposed a federal rule in May to require ESC on large commercial trucks and buses, but the proposal excludes school buses. Still, NHTSA said that applying ESC technology to the heavy-duty fleet could prevent up to 56 percent of rollover crashes each year and another 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes in these vehicles.
Meanwhile, NHTSA's latest study announced on Nov. 30 found that 2,202 people were saved by ESC technology. NHTSA said 634 lives were saved in 2008, 705 lives in 2009 and 863 lives in 2010.
"These numbers send a clear message about this technology's life-saving potential. As more vehicles on the road are equipped with ESC in the coming years, we know the technology will save even more lives," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The study announced complies with President Obama's Executive Order 13563 that each agency "periodically review its existing significant regulations" and is part of NHTSA's continuous effort to analyze the effectiveness of all of its rules, including ESC.