Cutting down on death

Vehicles equipped with Electronic Stability Control are 25 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those without it.


New research by Loughborough University has found that vehicles equipped with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) are 25 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those without it.


If every vehicle on the road were fitted with ESC, this would equate to approximately 380 fewer fatal accidents each year.


Commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT), the research was carried out by the University’s Vehicle Safety Research Centre. It found that ESC was especially effective in helping to prevent crashes that involved a vehicle skidding or overturning, with the potential to reduce serious accidents like this by up to 59 percent. As well as this, it concluded that ESC could offer additional benefits in adverse road conditions such as wet or snowy weather.


ESC is a computer-based technology which automatically controls the vehicle by comparing the driver’s steering and braking actions to what is actually happening. On-board sensors measure the speed, steering wheel angle, direction of travel and lateral acceleration of the vehicle. If the calculated path of travel is different to that dictated by the sensors it will make a correction by applying individual brakes to correct the deviation.


Studies from various countries have already shown it to be very effective at reducing accidents, but the Loughborough study is the first to specifically analyse UK roads. The research was released on Monday 18 June by the DfT at the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles Conference.



‘The UK ranks 21 out of 27 in the number of new cars fitted with ESC in EU Member States. We would now like to see manufacturers fitting this safety technology to all new cars,’ said Pete Thomas, Prof of Road and Vehicle Safety at Loughborough.