This report, commissioned by Bloomberg Philanthropies, finds that 42,000 lives could be saved and 150,000 serious injuries prevented by 2030 if all new cars in seven G20 countries were required to be equipped with an inexpensive crash avoidance technology starting in 2020.

Thirteen G20 counties currently adhere to United Nations regulations on electronic stability control (ESC). If the seven remaining countries—Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa—also mandated ESC in 2020, the report estimates $21.5 billion in economic benefit to those countries from the prevention of deaths and serious injuries. Argentina and Brazil are due to start applying ESC regulations in 2020.

The UK-based Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) conducted the independent study of costs and benefits of applying ESC regulation in G20 countries, which are responsible for 98% of the world’s passenger car production. This report comes before the 3rd Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm, which is the largest gathering of governments and is a key opportunity for adoption of this UN-recommended standard.  

According to the World Health Organization’s Global Road Safety Report, the number of road traffic deaths reached 1.35 million in 2016. Of all vehicle safety features, electronic stability control is regarded as the most important one for crash avoidance since it is 38% effective in reducing the number of deaths in loss-of-control collisions.

ESC tries to prevent skidding and loss of control in cases of over-steering and under-steering. The technology continuously monitors a vehicle’s direction of travel, steering wheel angle and the speed at which the individual wheels are rotating. If there is a mismatch between the intended direction of travel and the actual direction of travel, as indicated by the steering wheel position, ESC will selectively apply the brakes and modulate the engine power to keep the vehicle traveling along the intended path.

The cost of implementing ESC on vehicles that already contain anti-lock braking systems is thought to be as little as $50 per car. And the report finds the benefits are significant: For every dollar spent by consumers in purchasing vehicles with these technologies, there is a US$2.80 return in economic benefit to society because of the deaths and serious injuries avoided.

The analysis warns that without regulation of ESC, the seven remaining G20 countries will only reach 44% installation of ESC by 2030. However, if all seven countries implemented ESC regulations this year, 85% of the total car fleet in G20 countries will have ESC by 2030, a fiture still below the United Nations target of 100% ESC fleet coverage by 2030.


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