SMMT News

New cars purchased in 2009 equipped with active safety system

05 January 2010 #SMMT News

Within the first six months of 2009, nearly 60% of newly registered passenger cars in the UK featured the Electronic Safety Program (ESP) active safety system.

ESP offers benefits to driving in hazardous conditions, when roads can be wet, snowy or icy. It can reduce the number or severity of crashes which lead to skidding or overturning. The program compares the driver’s steering input to the actual direction in which the vehicle is moving. If the vehicle understeers or oversteers, ESP reacts immediately by directing specific braking pressure at individual wheels allowing the car to steer as the driver intends.

Europe regards ESP as an important safety feature. An EU regulation passed in 2009, and taking effect from November 2011, stipulates that all new passenger car and commercial vehicle models must be equipped with this active safety system. In February 2009, Euro NCAP launched its latest car safety rating scheme, the first update to the rating system since 1997. The new rating scheme has one overall star rating per vehicle tested and includes an extra element focusing on safety assistance. A vehicle cannot reach a top rating unless it is equipped with ESP.

The UK motor industry is aware of vehicle and road safety concerns and each manufacturer is developing advanced safety systems to protect drivers in the event of an accident. Further research and technological progress by industry is expected to refine safety tools such as the new generation of airbag restraint systems, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and electronic stability control. Vehicles today are safer than ever before and these new improvements will make for an even safer future.

To learn more about UK road safety, click here.

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