Car Plan to Reduce Deaths Welcomed


Australia’s peak motoring organisation—the Australian Automobile Association (AAA)—today welcomed the announcement by Federal Roads Minister, Jim Lloyd that the Government will put in place an action plan to accelerate the uptake of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) in all new vehicles.


AAA Executive Director, Lauchlan McIntosh, said road safety remains a significant public health problem inAustralia. Every day inAustralia5 people are killed on the roads and 60 are seriously injured. The Government’s efforts to encourage the introduction of ESC in new cars will help to address the problem.


“ESC senses when a driver is about to lose control by detecting differences between a vehicle’s course and the driver’s intended direction. It automatically slows the engine and applies the brakes to individual wheels to assist the driver in regaining control of the vehicle,” Mr McIntosh said.


“International research on the road safety benefits of ESC suggests it might be the most significant automotive safety technology since the seat belt. The latest research from theUniversityofMichiganin theUSsuggests that ESC can reduce the chances of fatal rollover crashes by 73% in 4WDs and 40% in passenger cars.


“AAA is working closely with the federal government to conduct a program to demonstrate the benefits of ESC to consumers. We expect to have the first results of this program ready by the end of 2006.


“The fastest way to get ESC into new cars is through consumer demand. I encourage everyone buying a new car—private buyers and fleet buyers alike—to insist that ESC is fitted to their cars.


“However, I urge all governments to not lose sight of the most significant factor adversely impacting on road trauma inAustralia, and that is the condition of the nation’s roads. We welcome the additional road investment announced in the federal budget, but there is now an urgency to ensure that funds are actually spent.


“Improving driving standards through education and training, such as that offered by the state motoring clubs, would also help cut deaths and injuries on the roads.


“More action must be taken to improve the overall safety of the Australian car fleet. Government and private fleets should purchase the safest possible vehicles. As a minimum, fleets should be buying cars with a 4-star ANCAP rating and that have curtain airbags and of course, ESC.

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