ESC now compulsory on new cars

EU legislation making electronic stability control mandatory on new cars has come into force

By Tim Kendall | 22nd November 2011

Electronic stability control (‘ESC’) is now compulsory on all new cars and light commercial vehicles launched within the EU. It’s been on the cards for a couple of years, but the new regulations were shuffled into the European statute books quietly earlier this month.

The anti-skid technology was first developed by Bosch in 1995, and according to the German engineering giant, helps prevent up to 80 per cent of all skidding accidents. ESC, which was fitted to 63 per cent of new cars in Europe last year, uses sensors to check whether the driver’s steering input matches the direction of travel, and intervenes by braking individual wheels or reducing engine torque to restore control.

Bosch ESP

Above: How stability control systems like Bosch ESP work

The mandatory fitment of ESC (also called ESP) is one of a raft of EU-wide safety measures planned to cut the number of road deaths across Europe. Lawmakers in Brussels will also make emergency brake assist and lane departure warning systems compulsory on vehicles over 3.5 tonnes or with more than 8 seats, from 2013.

Combined with the Department for Transport’s new MoT rules – which Auto Express reported on last month – the new legislation should see original equipment manufacturers of ESC systems like Bosch, quids in. Under the DfT plans, from next year motorists will have to fork out for replacement or repair of non-functioning ESC in order to pass an MoT test.

By Tim Kendall
22nd November 2011

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