FIA pushes for more action on Electronic Stability Control
Publication date: 15 February 2008
FIA President Max Mosley called for the European Commission to honor its commitment to speeding up the widest availability of eSafety as a standard item on cars sold in Europe.
Speaking to over 100 participants at the European Parliament, President Mosley said the EU must fulfill its goal of fitting Electronic Stability Control (ESC) on all new cars by 2012. Until that point, fiscal incentives should be offered to encourage take-up of the life saving ESC technology, the FIA President suggested. This will contribute significantly to the European Union’s goal of halving the number of road traffic fatalities by 2010.
eSafety, or Electronic Stability Control (ESC), controls the braking system of a motor vehicle so as to avoid over- or under-steering. This helps drivers retain control of vehicles. The technology also has significant potential both to avoid crashes and reduce their consequences. If drivers misjudge a corner or suddenly swerve to avoid an obstacle, stability control can help avoid a skid. This will turn an accident into a near miss. "We cannot afford any further delay, if the goal of fitting ESC on all new vehicles by 2012 is to be achieved. With regulations being prepared on a global level, Europe must not fall behind the rest of the world in the push for safer vehicles," said Mosley. In September 2006, the US National Highway Administration (NHTSA) adopted a policy committing the US to mandatory ESC by 2012. The EU, though, has so far only come up with legislation for mandatory ESC on large vehicles.
Speaking at the event, David Ward, Director General of the FIA Foundation and Chair of the ChooseESC! Campaign, regretted that ESC is available on less than 50% of vehicles sold in Europe. Ward recalled that studies indicate ESC reduces passenger car single-vehicle crashes by as much as 35 per cent. Despite the obvious benefits of ESC, proven since its introduction from 1995, market penetration remains low in many countries. There is a continuing lack of consumer awareness as to the safety benefits. Whilst cars at the top end of the market tend to have ESC fitted as a standard option, smaller cars, particularly those used by families, young drivers and vulnerable motorists, often lack the anti-skid technology. “Fiscal incentives have already been used by governments to promote environmental technologies. There is no reason why a similar approach could not be used to promote a life saving technology like ESC," said Mosley.
The ChooseESC! event in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 15 January was hosted by Member of the Parliament (MEP) Malcolm Harbour. The event brought together key European decision-makers. ChooseESC! Patron Viviane Reding, who is also a European Commissioner, expressed her full support for ESC. "We need to inform the citizens about the benefits of having ESC. We need to explain the importance of choosing a car which has ESC when people buy a new car," said Reding. Also speaking was MEP Zita Gurmai. "We need to take concrete action to avoid 4,000 lives being taken each year in Europe. More than 100,000 accidents happen as a result of skidding. This could be avoided with ESC," said Gurmai, citing figures from a recent Cologne University study. Gurmai is currently preparing the European Parliament's decision on the European Commission's Intelligent Car report. Also expressing his full support for the campaign was MEP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, whose CARS21 report was adopted on the same day as the ChooseESC! event in Strasbourg.