What is the safety effect of electronic stability control (ESC)?


Electronic stability control (ESC) is a safety feature to stabilise the car and keep it on its course while preventing skidding. ESC compares steering movements to the actual course of the car. If the movements deviate, for example during skidding, ESC can brake individual wheels. This will prevent skidding or over- or understeering in curves taken at high speeds, losing control and ending up in the verge. Landing in the verge may cause the vehicle to roll over. Because verge landings are prevented, rollovers are prevented as well and subsequent injuries for the car occupants. An assessment of 15 international studies shows that the risk of a fatal outcome of a single-vehicle crash is 30% to 50% lower for regular cars with ESC than for regular cars without ESC. For SUVs, the risk of a fatal outcome is 50% to 70% lower. The risk of a fatal outcome of a rollover is 70% to 90% lower, irrespective of the car type [20] Assessing eight international studies, Erke [79] found that the presence of ESC goes hand in hand with a decrease of single-vehicle crashes (-49%), head-on crashes (-13%), and fatal crashes with more than two crash opponents (-32%).

Since 2014, ESC has been mandatory for new cars in Europe, in compliance with the EC 661/2009 guideline [26]. Christoph [80] estimates that, on account of mandation, ESC had a penetration rate of 57% for Dutch cars in 2020, which will have increased to 78% in 2030.

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Safe passenger cars

Since the seventies, the safety of car occupants has greatly improved, expressed in both the number of road crash fatalities and in mortality risk. Meer