Preliminary evaluation of electronic stability control effectiveness in Australasia

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #271 [2007]

Authors: J. Sully & S. Newstead

Full report in .pdf format [598KB]


Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is an in-vehicle technology aimed at improving primary safety by assisting the driver in avoiding loss of control of the vehicle. The aim of this study was to use available crash data from Australia and New Zealand to evaluate the effectiveness of ESC systems in reducing crash risk and to establish whether benefits estimated from overseas studies have translated to the Australian and New Zealand environments.

A methodology was developed to identify ESC equipped vehicles from Australian and New Zealand crashed vehicle fleets. This resulted in the identification of 7,699 crashed vehicles that were fitted with ESC. This sample comprised of 90 different models, making this evaluation the first to include such a broad range of models in its sample of ESC-fitted vehicles. The induced exposure methodology was used to measure the effect of ESC on crashes on Australian and New Zealand roads. Vehicles involved in rear end impacts were used as the measure of induced exposure while Poisson regression was used to test whether the differences in the observed and expected crash counts for ESC fitted vehicles were significant.

It was found that the fitment of ESC to vehicles in the Australian and New Zealand fleet was associated with a statistically significant 32% reduction in the risk of single vehicle crashes in which the driver was injured. It was also found that ESC was more effective at preventing single vehicle crashes for 4WDs than for passenger cars, with ESC reducing the risk of single vehicle crashes in which the driver was injured by 68% for 4WDs compared with 27% for passenger cars. The effect of ESC on multiple vehicle crashes in Australia and New Zealand was not clear from this preliminary analysis. The long-term benefits of fitting ESC to all vehicles in Australia were also investigated based on the estimated single vehicle crash reductions.

Sponsoring organisation - Roads Traffic Authority of NSW, Royal Automotive Club of Victoria Ltd, NRMA Ltd, VicRoads, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia Ltd, Transport Accident Commission, Land Transport New Zealand, the Road Safety Council of Western Australia, the New Zealand Automobile Association, Queensland Transport, Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, Royal Automobile Association of South Australia and by a grant from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau