The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced plans to mandate electronic stability control (ESC) as a standard feature on vehicles with GVWRs of 10,000 lb. or less.
According to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which was published in the Federal Register on September 18, all automotive manufacturers would be required to begin installing ESC on model-year 2009 passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks, with the system becoming a standard feature by model-year 2012.
NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason said ESC systems use automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to help the driver maintain control in situations where the vehicle could skid.
She noted a 2004 NHTSA study that analyzed 40,000 crashes over a six-year period and found that ESC could reduce fatalities in single-vehicle crashes by 30% for passenger cars and 63% for sport utility vehicles (SUVs).