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Federal Legislation is Calling for All Vehicles to Have Electronic Stability Control

The United States government will be requiring anti-rollover technology in all new vehicles by the year 2012.  This technology is believed to have the capability of saving thousands of lives – the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that somewhere between 5,300 and 10,300 lives a year will be saved.  In addition, over 250,000 injuries a year will be prevented.


This step comes as no surprise to the car industry, as many manufacturers have already made the technology standard in all SUVs.  As a result, 78 of the 2007 model year SUVs earned four star ratings in rollover tests.  This statistic can be compared with 48 SUVs in 2006 and only 1 in 2001.  In 2006, 29% of all cars and trucks and 57% of SUVs were equipped with anti-rollover technology.


A four-star rating means that the vehicle only has a 10 to 20% chance of rolling over in a one car crash.  A five-star rating, which is the highest, means that the vehicle has a lower than 10% chance of flipping over.  No NHTSA tested SUV has earned a five star rating.


According to the NHTSA, SUVs have always had a problem with rollovers simply because they typically ride higher off the ground than passenger cars and have a higher center of gravity. 


Anti-rollover technology works by using computer controlled braking in the car’s individual wheels to help the driver maintain control.  The technology helps the driver to keep the car on the road, as most rollovers occur when the SUV has lost control and left the road.


The average cost of the new technology is a mere $111 per vehicle on cars that are already equipped with anti-lock brake technology.


Nicole Nason, an administrator with the NHTSA says that electronic stability control is “the greatest life-saving improvement since the safety belt.”