AM has learnt that Thatcham is planning to develop a ratings guide for ESP systems that will highlight which cars are fitted with the most effective systems. It is likely to be launched in 2008.
“The aim will be to make motorists aware of the potentially life-saving benefits of ESP and identify the cars that have it, and to encourage vehicle manufacturers to include ESP as an option at least on all their models,” says a source.
“At present we have the situation where one manufacturer includes ESP as standard specification on its cars in Scandinavia, but it’s not even an option on some of its models in the UK. And others have ESP available for some cars but not on their MPVs, where the family is left at risk.”
Figures released earlier this year by Bosch, which developed the first production ESP system in 1995, show that only one in three new cars sold in the UK is fitted with ESP, among the lowest in the EU.
A separate study by the SMMT last October showed only 5% of motorists were aware of the technology. US research credits ESP with reducing fatal single vehicle accidents by half.