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Electronic stability control systems reduce fatal car accidents

Anti-roll-over devices have been very effective at reducing fatal car accidents, according to highway safety officials. They reported that the federal mandate that requires manufacturers to install stability controls on SUVs and lights trucks have saved roughly 2, 200 lives during 2008 and 2010.

The federal requirement started in 2007 to address the increasing number of fatal roll-over accidents. Under the requirement, all vehicles built after August 2011 are required to have electronic stability controls installed.

How do electronic stability control systems help prevent car accidents? Electronic stability control systems use onboard computers to administer braking when drivers might lose control of the vehicle. An estimated 634 lives were saved in 2008, 705 lives were saved in 2009 and 863 lives were saved in 2010, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report. The NHTSA recommended that people buying a new or used vehicle to consider if it has electronic stability control installed to help prevent roll-overs and other accidents.

The federal mandate requires that all vehicles manufactured after August 2011 have electronic stability control installed. However, not all vehicles are required to have anti-rollover devices installed.

Under the federal mandate, vehicles that weigh more than 8,500 pounds are not listed in the mandate. Vehicles excluded from the electronic stability device include heavier vans, pickups and SUVs.

The government wants to revise the mandate to include larger commercial trucks and buses. The NHTSA says that if these vehicles were included, it would help prevent 56 percent of roll-over accidents involving commercial trucks and buses.

Source: Washington Post, "Anti-roll-over device said to have saved thousands of lives over three year period," Ashley Halsey III, Nov. 30, 2012

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