The European Union has announced ESP is now a mandatory safety technology on passenger cars and light commercial vehicles sold on the old continent.

The European Union has announced ESP is now a mandatory safety technology on passenger cars and light commercial vehicles sold on the old continent.

So far this year 84 percent of all new cars commercialized in Europe were equipped with the electronic stability program (ESP), a technology which since its introduction has prevented 190,000 accidents and saved more than 6,000 lives in Europe. The new rule is applicable at the moment only for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles that have a gross weight of up to 3.5 tons but will be extended to all other types of vehicles next year.

Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division, says that "ESP saves lives" and according to one of the company's studies, in 2011 the technology prevented more than 33,000 accidents and saved more than 1,000 lives in the European Union member states (25 at that time).

By using sensors, ESP compares 25 times per second whether the car is moving in the direction the driver is steering in and if not, ESP kicks in and reduces engine torque. If that's not enough, it will then individual brake the wheels as a method to generate the necessary counterforce to keep the vehicle on course.

As a final note, ESP has been a mandatory equipment in United States and Canada since September 2011 for all cars with a gross vehicle weight of up to 4.5 tons. ESP is also mandatory in Australia and Israel, while Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Russia will also implement the new regulation in the years to come.

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