ESC not as effective in rollover reduction as earlier technology: study

August 29, 2012

Arlington, VA – Electronic stability control is not as effective in reducing rollover crashes as an earlier available technology, according to a study from the American Transportation Research Institute. The study was conducted in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed rule that would mandate ESC installation in trucks.

Researchers analyzed crash data for nearly 136,000 trucks equipped with ESC, the earlier technology (known as roll stability control) or no roll stability system. Both systems attempt to stabilize a vehicle about to roll over by using targeted braking, but ESC also adjusts the steering when a truck loses control. Vehicles equipped with roll stability control had a 60 percent lower rollover rate than trucks without a system, and ESC-equipped trucks had a 47 percent lower rate than trucks with no system.

Researchers concluded that the findings were “counterintuitive” considering ESC provides additional preventive measures, but likely were due to intervening variables such as roll stability control’s earlier availability and other proactive safety practices.