Which? Calls for car electronic stability controls

In a recent road safety test conducted in Germany by the motoring group ADAC, the Citroen Nemo flunked the “moose” test (also called the “elk” test).  The test is designed to demonstrate a vehicle’s ability to manoeuvre safely in tight turns at motorway speeds.

While two similar vehicles, a Fiat and a Peugeot, survived the test, the Nemo overturned, skidding down the test track on its back.

In response to the test results, the consumer group Which? has called on all car manufacturers to install electronic stability controls, (ESC) on all new passenger vehicles as standard equipment.  ESC has been around for years, developed from other safety systems such as anti-locking brakes.  It is already standard with some manufacturers, but only available as an additional-cost option others, and not at all on many new cars.

Research carried out by the Department of Transport indicates that vehicles equipped with ESC are involved in 25% fewer fatal accidents on the road than those without this safety device.  The electronic controls monitor each wheel and apply the brakes in a controlled process that stabilizes the vehicle’s movement to prevent skidding and hold the tires on the road.

Though the test conditions are by definition more severe than those encountered in everyday driving, they demonstrate quite dramatically the difference in performance of cars equipped with ESC and those lacking this safety factor.  Of the three MPV’s involved in the “moose” test, only the Fiat Qubo was fitted with ESC.  Both Citroen and Peugeot say they plan to start making the electronic controls standard equipment on all new models.