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ESC standard on all new cars

  • Stability control compulsory for new models
  • Change comes into effect this month
  • Technology cuts accidents by 25%
Words By Emma Butcher

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All new cars launched from this month will have to be fitted with electronic stability control (ESC) technology under new European safety regulations.

Making the anti-skid technology compulsory is part of a European Commission strategy to improve safety. According to Department for Transport statistics, cars fitted with stability control are involved in 25% fewer accidents.

The system works through a series of sensors fitted to the vehicle, which continually monitor the drivers steering in relation to the car's direction of travel. If the system detects a discrepancy, it re-stabilises the car by automatically reducing engine torque and applying the brakes to individual wheels.

Dr Werner Struth, of stability control manufacturer Bosch, described such technology as 'the most important vehicle safety system after the seatbelt'.

Boschs system, called Electronic Stability Program, is fitted to around two thirds of all vehicles made in Europe today, and the company expects every second new car in the world to be equipped by 2013.

The technology will become mandatory for existing model ranges in Europe from October 31, 2014.