Citing recent industry and government studies, Continental Teves’
As spokesman for Drive Safer America!, the Continental-sponsored public awareness program, Phil Headley described the benefits of electronic stability control (ESC), lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and active rollover protection technologies to members of the American Public Health Association at their meeting in Washington.
He called the group’s attention to a report issued last month by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which estimated that ESC can reduce the risk of involvement in fatal single vehicle crashes by more than 50%. Single vehicle crashes account for about half of the 28,000 fatal passenger crashes that occur each year in the United States according to IIHS.
And according to a study by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), ESC reduced single vehicle crashes in passenger cars by 35% compared with the same models sold in prior years without ESC technology. Single vehicle SUV crashes were reduced by 67%.
Headley says traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of four and 34, “and there is technology available today to help decrease fatalities and injuries.”
“ESC and other active safety technology has been around in Europe for the past 10 years,” Headley notes. “Here, people are just finding out about it. In Europe, it’s available on approximately 40% of vehicles sold. In Germany, the number is between 50% and 60%. In the United States, it’s 7% or 8% last year moving to 15% to 20%this year.”
He attributes the more widespread use of active safety technology outside the U.S. to cultural differences. “Europeans in general are very conscious about their cars and buying decisions, and are much more accepting of technology. Mercedes, BMW and Corvette have had active safety for some time, but the average driver in the U.S. doesn’t know it exists. It’s a matter of educating consumers to know what active safety devices do and how they work. Once they try it, they’re usually sold.”
Headley says ESC and other active safety technology has the potential to save at least 7,000 lives per year. “The advantages are fantastic; the most significant results since seat belts.”