Tony O'Kane | Jun 23, 2009

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has followed Victoria's lead and decided to move ahead with plans to make electronic stability control (ESC) mandatory under Australian Design Rules (ADRs) for all new passenger cars sold in Australia.

Last year the Rudd Government signed its acceptance of a new global technical regulation that will make ESC standard fitment for passenger cars.

Now, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has today announced that ESC will be mandatory for all new passenger cars from November 2011, with all new vehicles requiring the life-saving tech from November 2013 onwards.

That will bring the rest of the country into line with the changes proposed by the Victorian Government, which announced earlier this month that all passenger and light commercial vehicles sold within the state must have electronic stability control as standard from January 2011.

According to Mr Albanese, it also means Australia will be taking the lead over many other developed nations in its uptake of ESC.

"The new regulations mandating ESC brings Australia into line with international standards," Mr Albanese said in a statement released today.

"In fact, we are fully phasing in ESC one year ahead of Europe."

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Manufacturers have also been taking the initiative with the introduction of a wider range of models that include ESC as standard equipment. The car-buying public has responded positively to the availability of stability control, with more buyers opting for the technology.

"Already many Australians appreciate the safety benefits of ESC, with around two thirds of the new cars and 4WDs sold in March fitted with the technology - up from 20 per cent in June 2006," Mr Albanese said.

It's a sentiment shared by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, with Chief Executive Andrew McKellar saying the uptake of the technology will only increase.

"Manufacturers and motorists have moved quickly to embrace this lifesaving technology and by the end of the year it is likely to be fitted to more than seven out of ten new vehicles," Mr McKellar said.

Electronic stability control prevents drivers from losing control of their cars by braking individual wheels to keep the nose of the vehicle pointing in the driver's intended direction.

Overseas studies have demonstrated that cars fitted with the technology stand a much better chance of avoiding a crash, while ESC's ability to keep the car travelling nose-first rather than sideways can greatly reduce the chance of a fatality in the event of an impact.

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