Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Electronic Stability Control Systems
As part of a comprehensive plan for reducing the serious risk of rollover crashes and the risk of death and serious injury in those crashes, this document proposes to establish a new Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) No. 126 to require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on passenger cars, multipurpose vehicles, trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 Kg (10,000 pounds) or less. ESC systems use automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to assist the driver in maintaining control in critical driving situations in which the vehicle is beginning to lose directional stability at the rear wheels (spin out) or directional control at the front wheels (plow out). Based on our own crash data studies, NHTSA estimates that the installation of ESC will reduce single-vehicle crashes of passenger cars by 34 percent and single vehicle crashes of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) by 59 percent, with a much greater reduction of rollover crashes. Preventing single-vehicle loss-of-control crashes is the most effective way to reduce deaths resulting from rollover crashes. This is because most loss of control crashes culminate in the vehicle leaving the roadway, which dramatically increases the probability of a rollover. NHTSA estimates that ESC has the potential to prevent 71 percent of passenger car rollovers and 84 percent of SUV rollovers in single-vehicle crashes. NHTSA estimates that ESC would save 5,300 to 10,300 lives and prevent 168,000 to 252,000 injuries in all types of crashes annually if all light vehicles on the road were equipped with ESC systems. ESC systems would substantially reduce (by 4,200 to 5,400) of the more than 10,000 deaths each year on American roads resulting from rollover crashes. About 29 percent of model year (MY) 2006 light vehicles sold in the U.S. were equipped with ESC, and manufacturers intend to increase the number of ESC installations in light vehicles to 71 percent by MY 2011. This rule would require a 100 percent installation rate for ESC by MY 2012 (with exceptions for some vehicles manufactured in stages or by small volume manufacturers). Of the overall projected annual 5,300 to 10,300 highway deaths and 168,000 to 252,000 injuries prevented, we would attribute 1,536 to 2,211 prevented fatalities (including 1,161 to 1,445 involving rollover) to this proposed rulemaking, in addition to the prevention of 50,594 to 69,630 injuries.