ESP to be compulsory

JonathanNovember 22, 2011

Motorists with older cars could switch to a newer leased vehicle with the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which now must be fitted on all new motors.

Car leasing customers who hire out newer models are more likely to find that the safety feature is already installed on their vehicles.

The new regulations are part of the European Commission’s strategy to reduce the number of road traffic accidents.

ESP is an anti-skid mechanism, which according to Bosch, uses sensors to ensure the movements a driver makes to the steering wheel correspond to the actual direction the car is heading. These intelligent sensors are capable of making the measurements up to 25 times a second.

Once the ESP system realises the two inputs no longer correlate it reduces the engine torque to restore stability to the car and prevent it skidding out of control.

Bosch, which has manufactured more than 50 million units across the globe, states that if the temporary power reduction is not enough to avert an accident then EPS will begin to apply brakes to the vehicle’s wheels.

“ESP can prevent up to 80 per cent of all skidding accidents. It is the most important vehicle safety system after the seat belt,” said Dr Werner Struth, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division.

The system was first developed in 1995 and by last year 63 per cent of all cars manufactured in Europe were fitted with ESP, which also integrates the antilock brakes and traction control.

An estimated 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roads each year and the United Nations views the development of ESP as a major step in its target to reduce that number by 50 per cent by 2020.

Car leasing customers should be aware that the safety device is not foolproof.

“People shouldn’t have to rely on technology to keep them safe, it should always be a last resort,” said Mike Frisby, DIAmond chief examiner.

He added that correct and traditional road safety training was still relevant.

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