Fully Defeatable Electronic Stability Control Targeted by European Safety Agency

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

Electronic stability control systems save lives. That’s a fact. And as a result every vehicle now sold in the U.S. comes with a stability control system. But only a fraction of cars sold come with full defeatable ESC – the type that lets you shut off all the electronic nannies and hand the tail end out like you’re filming an episode of Top Gear.

Those days may soon be over, however, thanks to the European New Car Assessment Program, or Euro-NCAP. The overseas safety body, which performs standardized crash testing of vehicles on the continent is currently studying whether to grade automakers on the effectiveness of their ESP systems. Much like how it assigns a star rating to a crash test, the suggested new rules would have the agency rank how significant the engagement of a stability control system is, as well as how early it intervenes. A vehicle with a fully defeatable system could receive a rating of zero.

If this ranking were then integrated into the overall safety score, in order for an automaker to achieve a coveted 5 Star rating, it would have to have as intrusive a stability control system as possible. And if such a system were to be implemented in Europe, how long before it would be mandated here?

Think the idea of a BMW M3 with no DSC-off switch is science fiction? May we remind you, while the Lexus GX460 SUV is no M3, it was the focus of some bad press last year as a result of its ESC program. After testing the vehicle, the editors at Consumer Reports put the luxo-Ute on its “Do Not Buy” list due to rollover concerns as a result of a stability control system that did not engage early enough. Lexus then recalled the SUV, uploaded some new software and won back the favor of CR.

Has it already begun? Do you want to live in a world without fully-defeatable stability control?

[Source: Car & Driver]

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. Find Colum on <a href="http://www.google.com">Twitter.</a>

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  • Chad Chad on May 18, 2011

    The Nanny State, here to save us from ourselves. Thank God we have the government to protect us. I mean, where would we be without all of this Nanny-Tech. Drivers no longer have to learn to drive, the car will correct all of their mistakes. Rear-View mirrors? Forget those old things, we have a rear-view CAMERA with RADAR. Weaving back and forth too much in your lane? The Lane Guidance will correct it for you, never mind the reason you were weaving was to avoid road kill or nail. And now we can follow the car in front of us right on their bumper, because ABS save us. Much of this tech is allowing bad drivers to continue to be bad drivers, unfortunately.