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Europe to get a mandatory ESP in all cars

Snapshot: Come November 1, 2014 and all the newly registered passenger cars and light commercial vehicles will be equipped with ESP safety system.

In a latest move to ensure safer roads, the European Union has made ESP, a standard equipment for the cars. From the coming November 1, all the newly registered passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) with a gross vehicle weight of up to 3.5 tonnes will be equipped with ESP safety system. All the other vehicles will get the technology, later on after a year.

Talking about India, it is the world's second largest country in terms of population, but ironically, it is also the country where most deaths occur due to road accidents. If we ask what is the most important safety equipment in your car, most people will reply with either seatbelts or airbags or ABS? But what about the ESP? Heard the name before? We bet 90% of the Indians won't even acknowledge the term ESP, leave alone functionality. Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is a safety technology that comes into the act when the vehicle loses traction. As soon as it happens, the sensors apply automatic breaks to any of the four wheels, judging the direction of the car.  

In fact, statistically speaking, ESP (Electronic Stability Program) is the most important safety technology in vehicles after the seat belts. According to some studies, 80 percent of skidding accidents could be prevented if the vehicles are to be equipped with the anti-skid system. In 2011 alone, ESP stopped more than 33,000 accidents from happening and saved more than 1,000 lives in the European Union member states (of which there were 25 at the time), even though ESP was only fitted in about 40 per cent of vehicles. Since its introduction in 1995, ESP has prevented 190,000 accidents and saved more than 6,000 lives across Europe.

Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division, says “ESP saves lives." ESP is a must-have safety feature and considering how the numbers of cars are increasing day by day, time will come that it would be inevitable to prevent skidding accidents. It might even be considered more important than the airbags. 84 per cent of all new vehicles in Europe got equipped with the ESP in 2014, against the global average of 59 per cent.

Indian Government should take cues from the European safety measures and make these safety features compulsory, as India tops the list of countries where most people die in road accident. In fact, till date, ABS and Airbags have not been made compulsory for the cars.

Also, read our safety article on ABS here.

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