The government wants all new passenger vehicles to have technology to prevent cars from losing control or rolling over within six years.
Citing an insurance industry study that found that as many as 10,000 road deaths annually could be prevented if all vehicles were equipped with Electronic Stability Control, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a requirement that all passenger cars and light trucks be fitted with the feature.
The control system, which has been included as either standard or optional equipment on a growing number of cars in recent years. The system, variously referred to as StabiliTrak (GM), Vehicle Skid Control (Toyota) or similar names, is especially common on sport utility vehicles, which have shown a propensity for rollovers in the past.
The system works by applying braking pressure to individual wheels of a car as the computer detects that the driver is losing control. Even if the driver is braking to regain control, the ESC system can apply incremental pressure to help the process.
The new regulation would take effect in the 2009 model year.