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Stability control could prevent 10K fatal crashes

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http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr061306.html

Electronic stability control could prevent nearly one-third of all fatal crashes and reduce rollover risk by as much as 80%; effect is found on single- and multiple-vehicle crashes

ARLINGTON, VA — An extension of antilock brake technology, electronic stability control (ESC) is designed to help drivers retain control of their vehicles during high-speed maneuvers or on slippery roads. Previous research found significant effects of ESC in reducing the risk of fatal single-vehicle crashes. Using data from an additional year of crashes and a larger set of vehicle models, researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have updated the 2004 results and found that ESC reduces the risk of fatal multiple-vehicle crashes by 32 percent.

The new research confirms that ESC reduces the risk of all single-vehicle crashes by more than 40 percent — fatal ones by 56 percent. The researchers estimate that if all vehicles were equipped with ESC, as many as 10,000 fatal crashes could be avoided each year.

"The findings indicate that ESC should be standard on all vehicles," says Susan Ferguson, Institute senior vice president for research. "Very few safety technologies show this kind of large effect in reducing crash deaths."

Availability varies: ESC is standard on 40 percent of 2006 passenger vehicle models and optional on another 15 percent. It's standard on every 2006 Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Mercedes, and Porsche. Another 8 vehicle makes (Cadillac, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mini, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo) offer at least optional ESC on all of their models. But ESC, standard or optional, is limited to 25 percent or fewer models from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Hummer, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Saturn, Subaru, and Suzuki.

After studies in 2004 by the Institute and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some manufacturers announced plans to make ESC standard on all SUVs. The percentage of SUV models with standard ESC has been growing faster than for cars.

As a stand-alone option, ESC costs from about $300 to $800, but it can cost more than $2,000 on some models when packaged with other equipment. A potential problem for increasing consumer awareness is that automakers market ESC by various names including Electronic Stability Program, StabiliTrack, or Active Handling.

"When ESC is optional, this hodgepodge of terms is bound to be confusing," Ferguson points out. "It's good that some of the major manufacturers have pledged to make ESC standard on their SUVs in the next few model years, and it should be standard on cars and pickup trucks too."

How ESC works: Antilock brakes have speed sensors and independent braking capability. ESC adds sensors that continuously monitor how well a vehicle is responding to a driver's steering wheel input. These sensors can detect when a driver is about to lose control because the vehicle is straying from the intended line of travel — a problem that usually occurs in high-speed maneuvers or on slippery roads. In these circumstances, ESC brakes individual wheels automatically to keep the vehicle under control.

When a driver makes a sudden emergency maneuver or, for example, enters a curve too fast, the vehicle may spin out of control. Then ESC's automatic braking is applied and in some cases throttle reduced to help keep the vehicle under control.

ESC is relatively new. Only in the last few years have researchers had sufficient data to analyze its effects on real-world crashes. The new Institute study is based on data from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System and police reports of crashes in 10 states during 2001-04. Researchers compared crash rates for cars and SUVs without ESC and the same models in subsequent years when ESC was standard (note: some vehicles with optional ESC were included in the no-ESC group because so few buyers choose this option).

More effects of ESC on SUVs: The data in the Institute's 2004 study weren't extensive enough to allow researchers to compute separate risk reduction estimates for cars and SUVs. However, this was possible in the broader analysis that's just completed. While both cars and SUVs benefit from ESC, the reduction in the risk of single-vehicle crashes was significantly greater for SUVs — 49 percent versus 33 percent for cars. The reduction in fatal single-vehicle crashes wasn't significantly different for SUVs (59 percent) than for cars (53 percent).

Many single-vehicle crashes involve rolling over, and ESC effectiveness in preventing rollovers is even more dramatic. It reduces the risk of fatal single-vehicle rollovers of SUVs by 80 percent, 77 percent for cars.

ESC was found to reduce the risk of all kinds of fatal crashes by 43 percent. This is more than the 34 percent reduction reported in 2004. If all vehicles had ESC, it could prevent as many as 10,000 of the 34,000 fatal passenger vehicle crashes that occur each year.

Insurance claims show effects on collision losses: The results of the Institute's studies showing significant reductions in serious crash risk are reflected in some insurance losses. According to a new analysis by the Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, losses under collision coverage are about 15 percent lower for vehicles with ESC than for predecessor models without it. However, ESC doesn't have much effect on property damage liability claims or the frequency of injury claims. These findings track police-reported crashes, which show little effect of ESC on the risk of low-severity multiple-vehicle crashes.

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Remember when Econolines and Ram Wagons were drunkenly flipping over left and right? Since IIHS doesn't care enough to point this out, I will...

General Motors has announced that it will begin installing vehicle stability enhancement systems (VSES) in GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express 15-passenger vans during the 2004 model year. The StabiliTrak system will be standard on 15-passenger vans.

Vehicle stability enhancement systems aid a driver's control of a vehicle when driving on dangerous surfaces like ice, snow, gravel, and wet and uneven pavement. The system also helps keep the vehicle under control when a driver makes sudden lane changes or is involved in other emergency maneuvers.

VSES sensors work by recognizing wheel skid. When you skid, sensors monitor the difference between the steering wheel angle and the direction a driver is actually turning, the vehicle speed, and other factors. After analyzing what's taking place, the system automatically reduces engine torque and applies pressure to the front right or left brakes to help keep the vehicle along its intended path.

GM was the first automaker to install VSES in full-size SUVs, adding it to Cadillac Escalade in 2002 and to the Escalade EXT, GMC Yukon, Yukon Denali, Chevy Suburban and a few others in 2003.

Source: GM Media

GM was the first (and to date only) manufacturer to equip its fullsized 12- and 15-passenger vans with some form of electronic stability control, vans that are used on a daily basis to transport thousands and thousands of people at airports, hotels, amusement parks, private and public schools, universities, day cares, and other businesses. And they made it standard.

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Remember when Econolines and Ram Wagons were drunkenly flipping over left and right? Since IIHS doesn't care enough to point this out, I will...

GM was the first (and to date only) manufacturer to equip its fullsized 12- and 15-passenger vans with some form of electronic stability control, vans that are used on a daily basis to transport thousands and thousands of people at airports, hotels, amusement parks, private and public schools, universities, day cares, and other businesses. And they made it standard.

Ford's E-350 and Dodge's Sprinter also have standard ESP.

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Ford's E-350 and Dodge's Sprinter also have standard ESP.

Only in Ford's 15-seater and only in the Sprinter 2500. GM still has it standard on the 12-seaters.

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Remember when Econolines and Ram Wagons were drunkenly flipping over left and right? Since IIHS doesn't care enough to point this out, I will...

GM was the first (and to date only) manufacturer to equip its fullsized 12- and 15-passenger vans with some form of electronic stability control, vans that are used on a daily basis to transport thousands and thousands of people at airports, hotels, amusement parks, private and public schools, universities, day cares, and other businesses. And they made it standard.

they did that to fend off lawsuits. people were getting suit happy against vans. still, a good move.

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I recall a situation similar to the linked video where ESC would have saved me the embarassment of getting stuck in a snow bank.

So that's not Traction Control's job at all, huh? I'll be sure to stay in the 30-mph interstate lane next time I drive through a blizzard...

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they did that to fend off lawsuits.  people were getting suit happy against vans.  still, a good move.

152361[/snapback]

I agree as the only way these innovations com into existence is when enough people die.

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Remember when Econolines and Ram Wagons were drunkenly flipping over left and right? Since IIHS doesn't care enough to point this out, I will...

GM was the first (and to date only) manufacturer to equip its fullsized 12- and 15-passenger vans with some form of electronic stability control, vans that are used on a daily basis to transport thousands and thousands of people at airports, hotels, amusement parks, private and public schools, universities, day cares, and other businesses. And they made it standard.

152302[/snapback]

the beancounters told them to do it because of this equation

lawsuits cost more than putting it in the vans

damn, i just repeated myself from like a month ago!

My sister's like 2001 or 2000 Focus had advance trac, all the way back then.

Edited by regfootball

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I am all for standard safety equipment, but there is a cost. At some point, a car could cost $200,000 and be perfectly safe but nobody could AFFORD to drive one. This is where the lawyers have to be held at bay.

Every manufacturer has to trade off cost/benefit on safety items. GM tried putting this system on the Intrigue a few years back and it BOMBED. Customers didn't care, salespeople couldn't explain it and not enough people saw the benefits.

It's probably a poor comparison, but if you look at a 1967 Dart or Chevelle and then look at a Malibu or Fusion today, safety equipment has added thousands to the cost of the vehicle. Cars 40 years ago barely had lap belts!

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I am all for standard safety equipment, but there is a cost.  At some point, a car could cost $200,000 and be perfectly safe but nobody could AFFORD to drive one.  This is where the lawyers have to be held at bay.

  Every manufacturer has to trade off cost/benefit on safety items.  GM tried putting this system on the Intrigue a few years back and it BOMBED.  Customers didn't care, salespeople couldn't explain it and not enough people saw the benefits.

  It's probably a poor comparison, but if you look at a 1967 Dart or Chevelle and then look at a Malibu or Fusion today, safety equipment has added thousands to the cost of the vehicle.  Cars 40 years ago barely had lap belts!

191028[/snapback]

it bombed because it was new and more expensive. Now, stability control is hardly more costly than basic ABS. But to you it is perceived as expensive, only because the automaker tries to use it as a profit center and way to upsell to higher models.

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New techonology is only embraced if it is on a foreign vehicle.

If it is on a domestic first its just a "gimmick"

191670[/snapback]

ESP was first introduced on a "foreign" vehicle.

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New techonology is only embraced if it is on a foreign vehicle.

If it is on a domestic first its just a "gimmick"

191670[/snapback]

you mean like the Riviera, back in 86, with the touch screen?

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Is this different from traction control?

152306[/snapback]

well stablititrac is a list of traction sensors...

i beleive 4...

according to that movie...traction control is acceloration

ABS is deceloration

many more recent traction control moduals also helped to avoid accidents...

or use ABS to individually brake each wheel...

Stabilitrac has also roll over sensors...

some traction controls were not full speed traction so over a certain speed... they were turned off...

but stablitrac has 4 sensors i believe...

A G meter going forward...

A G Meter going sideways

A G Meter for vertical stablity... make sure it doesnt roll

and the most complex one i believe is the spinning G meter...

and it compares all those sensors with each wheel speed... and uses ABS to adjust each brake to steer the vehicle to saftey... its amazing to see it work...

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Prediction:

9,995 lives will be lost when people over-compensate for these

systems by driving even worse just because they know they

have a larger margin of error.

Also, the remaining 5 saved lives will be snuffed by electronic

gremlins which will cause the system to fail and make the car

loose control. Just like my friend Alex who slammed his Blazer

into a tree after his ABS got stuck and he lost ALL braking.

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Prediction:

9,995 lives will be lost when people over-compensate for these

systems by driving even worse just because they know they

have a larger margin of error.

Also, the remaining 5 saved lives will be snuffed by electronic

gremlins which will cause the system to fail and make the car

loose control. Just like my friend Alex who slammed his Blazer

into a tree after his ABS got stuck and he lost ALL braking.

194220[/snapback]

Prediction:

No.

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Prediction:

9,995 lives will be lost when people over-compensate for these

systems by driving even worse just because they know they

have a larger margin of error.

Also, the remaining 5 saved lives will be snuffed by electronic

gremlins which will cause the system to fail and make the car

loose control. Just like my friend Alex who slammed his Blazer

into a tree after his ABS got stuck and he lost ALL braking.

194220[/snapback]

ive experianced it... and i can definatly see how it would save lives...

i have had traction control keep me from over accelorating off of a hill...

i've had stablitrac keep my car on all four wheels... this stuff works

and STABLITRAK is rated 2nd to seatbelts for saving lives in accidents... dont remember by which association tho...

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Hopefully GM will respond to this by participating in raising the bar for standard ESC safety systems.

As I see it, and have experienced in a variety of conditions, this equipment and system programming does work since the grand majority of drivers have very little experience with emergency driving conditions. For most people, common sense dictates that they slam on the brakes and steer away from danger to avoid disaster. This is all they can do for themselves. The additional active safety equipment with ESC does much better by making the vehicle work for the driver instead of against them.

While there certainly are additional maintenance costs to factor in to the upkeep of a vehicle, the benefit is in the education of the owners to ensure they are properly maintaining their vehicle's systems on a regular basis. That benefit extends to everyone on the road. The problem in the end is with the quality of the components to which the consumer has an additional burden of cost in owning a vehicle. The issue of cost vs. safety always comes up with each new safety system being added to a vehicle, so this one is no different.

In the end, the system works. Those suggesting that they are tired of safety systems taking control away from their hands need to understand that it's not taking anything away from them, but adding more for them to utilize. It's working so the vehicle will accept the input it's given, as opposed to heading in a direction the driver may not have intended to go, but ultimately is responsible for.

Edited by ShadowDog

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Fly: This happened in 1999 and the truck was a 1995 Blazer S10.

It was in 100% safe shape, tires, brakes etc. were all fine. The

state of Massachusetts gave him a pass safety/inspection sticker

and he was coming home from work as an armored truck driver.

The ABS came on durring a normal situation at a red light, it was

drizzling and slightyl downhill. The truck's ABS came on and then

it stopped pulsating but the calipers were stuck in the OFF

position. Not wanting to kill the person in front of him who was in

a compact car he swerved and and went off the road, through a

small stone fence and into a tree.

How do you "maintain" ABS?

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How do you "maintain" ABS?

194301[/snapback]

It has been suggested to me a few times that the system be tested periodically (monthly / bi-monthly) in a safe setting, like a parking lot. Regular maintenance includes visual inspections of the system for noticable problems that have yet to be found by the system's own diagnostic readings. The way I see it, one can take a look at the brakes one minute, and then end up in an accident because of a failing part that looked alright to begin with...in that case, $h! happens.

There's no easy way to know how many people have faired better with ABS than without, but I'm willing to bet that more have benefited.

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