Twenty years ago this month Mercedes-Benz first introduced the technology that has become the Electronic Stability Program that is now required on all cars sold in the United States. The technology is designed to reduce understeer and oversteer by braking individual wheels or cutting engine power when necessary.
Numerous studies around the world confirm that Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is highly effective in helping the driver maintain control of the car, thereby saving lives and reducing the severity of crashes. In the fall of 2004 in the U.S., the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed the international studies, and released its’ own results from their field study of ESC effectiveness. The NHTSA in United States concluded that ESC reduces crashes by 35%. Additionally, Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) with stability control are involved in 67% fewer accidents than SUVs without the system. The United States Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued its own study in June 2006 showing that up to 10,000 fatal US crashes could be avoided annually if all vehicles were equipped with ESC. The IIHS study concluded that ESC reduces the likelihood of all fatal crashes by 43%, fatal single-vehicle crashes by 56%, and fatal single-vehicle rollovers by 77–80%.