In late 2004, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued a report that half of the 28,000 fatal car crashes involved a lone vehicle. This is the same conclusion reached by the United States National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Electronic Stability Control
Another thing that both organizations share is the belief that equipping cars and light trucks, including SUVs with electronic stability control (ESC) substantially reduces the risk of single car fatal crashes by up to fifty percent.
According to the NHTSA, the reductions in fatal single car crashes can see reductions of up to 30 percent for cars and 63 percent for SUVs.
Both of these studies showed that widespread installation of ESC saves more than 7,000 lives each year. In 2006, the government announced that all vehicles for sale in the United States five tons or less needed to have ESC. The announcement also said the automotive industry had until the new 2012 models were released in the fall of 2011 or January 1, 2012, if models were not revamped.
What ESC Is
According to industry experts, ESC is the single most important safety improvement since seat belts. It is a system that takes control of a car when the ESC system is signaled by a wheel sensor that the car is no longer following the driver’s control decisions. ESC is helpful in,
- Enhancing handling on gravel patches, such as road shoulders
- Improving traction on slippery or icy roads
- Stabilizing the car during sudden evasive maneuvers
- Correcting impending over steering or under steering
How ESC Works
For ESC to work, cars must also be equipped with anti-lock brake systems and traction control. The sensors used by these two features are the same as the ones used by ESC. These sensors can tell how a vehicle responds to a driver’s intent and take over using ESC for prevention of a spinout or other common single driver accident. It won’t prevent things like fender benders on crowded roads, but is designed for prevention of loss of control during high-speed highway driving or on slippery roads.
Sensors on the wheel detect loss of control or impending loss of control and hand the car’s operation to the ESC system which can brake each wheel by itself.
What Happens when Electronic Stability Control Fails?
Electronic stability control systems can activate brakes and control the power produced by the engine. When the ESC system fails, drivers can still drive their cars as a system failure usually means that the system quit working altogether – but this is not always the case.
Since the wires, connectors, sensors, calipers and every other component of ESC lives in a hostile environment of dripping or splashing oil and water, snow packed wheels and brake parts, gravel kicking up and more, an ESC system is likely to fail. We see a light on our dashboard and have the reason for it repaired.
What if Electronic Stability Controls Fails Due to Manufacturing or Design Failure?
Consumers have the expectation that products they buy will work as designed. When automobiles fail to operate as designed the best one can hope for is a recall to fix a recurring problem in manufacturers cars. Sometimes, recalls can involve cars from several divisions of a single line – the Toyota problem with Takeda Air Bags is an excellent example.
If a recall does not solve a consumer’s problem with a cranky ESC system, they may need to contact an attorney.
Product failure by automakers is more common that most people know. There have been many class action lawsuits as well as individual lawsuits against car makers concerning ESC failure. These failures are costly. Spending mounts up for manufacturers of cars with failed Electronic Stability Control. They are,
- Product liability – significant settlements and penalties
- Loss of brand credibility & competitive edge
- Expensive recalls
- Warranty claims
Costs for independent failure investigations to settle legal disputes, insurance claims
Under the laws for product liability, consumers can file an individual or begin a class action lawsuit if the automobile’s failed ESC system caused,
- Injury or death, or
- The car is defective
- The defect caused your injury or loss of life
- The car was being driven as designed
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective vehicle stability control system, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us Toll-free or fill out the free case evaluation form to have your legal claim reviewed quickly and confidentially.