Cars sold in Britain are lagging behind in fitting electronic stability programs (ESP) as standard, and not doing so could cost 380 lives a year.
That's the view of car research centre Thatcham, which has revealed that just half of new cars in Britain are fitted with ESP.
This compares poorly with Germany, where 58% of cars have the system as standard, and Sweden, where 75% have it.
With Department of Transport statistics revealing that cars fitted with ESP are 25% less likely to be involved in fatal accidents, Thatcham has concluded that if we match the levels of fitment in Sweden, 380 lives would be saved each year.
Thatcham is calling on car manufacturers to force the change through, highlighting that Vauxhall and Toyota in Sweden supply every car in their range with ESP as standard, whereas in the UK only two models from each range have it.
Thatcham's crash research manager, Matthew Avery, said: 'Our message to vehicle manufacturers must be this: you know ESP can make a real difference in preventing accidents occurring, you have an obligation to fit this technology as standard across all your model ranges.'
However, there is some good news: the number of cars sold with ESP as standard rose 7% in the past 12 months.
• What Car? has been calling for ESP to be standard for over a year - to see how ESP can make a difference, click here.
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