Tony O'Kane | Nov 8, 2008

Good news on the car safety front. From 2009 onwards, any car tested under the rigorous Euro NCAP program must be fitted with electronic stability control if it's to have any hope of scoring a five-star rating.

Recognising that perhaps the best means of reducing on-road fatalities is to avoid crashes altogether, the Euro NCAP program will now score cars in four different parameters: adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and the new area of "Safety Assist", which deals with technologies such as ESC, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution.

It's a promising sign that road safety institutions such as Euro NCAP are taking active safety systems such as ESC and EBD with greater seriousness, as it's these technologies that do the most important job of keeping motorists on the tarmac and out of the trees, rather than just making sure the occupants are as comfortable as possible during car-to-eucalypt interactions. Our own ANCAP crash test program already requires a car to be fitted with ESC before it can be awarded five stars, but given the greater number of vehicles tested and the larger market that it services the adoption of this rule by Euro NCAP will likely have a greater effect on the world's road toll.

However, for those of you out there who can't afford a car with ESC, BA or EBD, we've got some simple advice to you: Obey speed limits, don't drink and drive, be sensible in the rain, enrol yourself in an advanced driving course if you can spare the coin and for the love of God, keep the powerslidin' where it belongs - on a racetrack. Stay safe out there, dear readers.

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