Oct 16, 2009

New technology will make Australia’s country roads safer

New technology will make Australia’s country roads safer

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

October 16 2009

New Australian-based research confirms the safety value of Electronic Stability Control (ESC), further vindicating the Government’s decision to mandate this technology in all new models of cars, passenger vans and off-road vehicles from November 2011.

ESC is computer-based technology designed to help drivers maintain control of their vehicles in emergency situations. It works by detecting when a vehicle is about to skid and applying the brakes to individual wheels to prevent a loss of control.

The latest research confirms the technology has the real potential to greatly reduce the number of single-vehicle and other loss-of-control crashes that occur each year on Australia’s country roads.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) used advanced simulation techniques to replicate 12 real-life rural road crashes, comparing the outcome of each scenario to how it would have played out if the vehicle had been equipped with ESC.

In ten of the simulations the addition of ESC to the vehicle enabled the driver to avoid the collision altogether, while in the remaining two it reduced the severity of the crash.

The research is further evidence ESC can intervene to completely change the dynamics and outcome of a potential crash.

While earlier studies reported large reductions in crash rates among vehicles equipped with ESC, this latest research examined the link between these statistical findings and the actual operation of ESC in individual crashes.

The safety benefits of ESC are already appreciated by many Australians, with over 65 per cent of new cars and 4WDs sold in March 2009 fitted with the technology.

The work undertaken by the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) was supported with a grant from the Australian Government. The full report is available from: www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/.