Effects of electronic stability control: an update

Traffic Inj Prev. 2006 Dec;7(4):319-24. doi: 10.1080/15389580600846273.


Objective: An earlier study reported that electronic stability control (ESC) in passenger vehicles reduced single-vehicle crash involvement risk by 41% and single-vehicle fatal crash involvement risk by 56%. The purpose of the present study was to update these effectiveness estimates using an additional year of crash data and a larger set of vehicle models.

Methods: The amount of data increased by half, allowing for separate effectiveness estimates for cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and a more detailed examination of multiple-vehicle crash types. Crash involvement rates per registered vehicle were compared for otherwise identical vehicle models with and without ESC.

Results: Based on all police-reported crashes in 10 states during three years, ESC reduced single-vehicle crash involvement risk by approximately 41%. Effects were significantly higher for SUVs than for cars. ESC reduced single-vehicle crash involvement risk by 49% for SUVs and 33% for cars. Based on all fatal crashes in the United States during four years, ESC was found to have reduced single-vehicle fatal crash involvement risk by 56%. Again, effectiveness estimates were higher for SUVs than for cars--59% for SUVs and 53% for cars, but these differences were not statistically significant. Multiple-vehicle fatal crash involvement risk was reduced by 32%-37% for SUVs and 25% for cars.

Conclusions: The present study confirms the results of the earlier study. There are significant reductions in single-vehicle crash rates when passenger vehicles are equipped with ESC. In addition, ESC leads to reductions in severe multiple-vehicle crashes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / classification
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Automobiles*
  • Electronics*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control