The Road Safety Council has advised that Electronic Stability Control (ESC) should be regarded as an essential safety feature on all new car models sold and purchased for use in Western Australia to reduce the high rate of single vehicle crashes on regional roads.
"Between 2006 and 2010 there were 6,677 people killed or seriously injured in WA in single vehicle crashes," Independent Chair of the Road Safety Council, Professor D’Arcy Holman said.
"If the vehicles were fitted with Electronic Stability Control, it could have prevented approximately 1,870 people from being killed or seriously injured."
ESC is an in-vehicle technology aimed at improving primary safety by assisting the driver to avoid loss of control of the vehicle.
The technology identifies loss of control when one or more wheel is moving at a higher or lower speed than expected and rectifies this by automatically applying the brakes selectively to the wheels and reducing engine power where necessary.
“The most effective strategy for reducing road trauma requires a combination of new efforts to improve the behaviour of road users, the safety of the road environment and improving vehicle safety,” Professor Holman said.
The Council also welcomed the Federal Government decision that from July 1, 2011 all commonwealth fleet passenger cars purchased by the Australian Government must have a 5 star ANCAP safety rating.
This complements an earlier decision by the WA State Government to implement the same requirement from October 1, 2011.
The Council has called on corporate mining and business groups in WA to adopt vehicle fleet safety standards no less than those now to be introduced into the public sector, so that the majority of vehicles in WA will be five star rated as soon as possible.
"Large government and corporate car fleets are a supplier to the second hand car market and so the benefits of safer car fleet policies flow through to the entire community," Professor Holman said.
Since 2008 an ANCAP 5 star rating can only be awarded with the inclusion of ESC in the vehicle.
On 23 June 2009, the Australian Federal Government announced that ESC will be mandatory from 1 November 2011 for all new passenger vehicles sold in Australia, and for all models from November 2013.
"This is a positive step in line with the State’s road safety strategy Toward Zero," Professor Holman said.
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Download the Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre's report here:
Follow-up Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Electronic Stability Control in Australasia - Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre (49 page PDF 705 KB)
Elizabeth Jones, Office of Road Safety, 0417 939 743