Matt Greenop on motoring

Matt Greenop is editor of Driven magazine

Matt Greenop: Essential safety device

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Electronic Stability Control (ESC) will become mandatory from next year. Photo / Supplied
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) will become mandatory from next year. Photo / Supplied

At the risk of sounding like Kim Dotcom, there's a revolution coming.

A couple of months ago, ESC - electronic stability control - became mandatory on all new light passenger and goods vehicles from July next year.

To avoid shocking the system too much, the introduction of this incredibly effective system across used vehicles will be carried out in stages - SUVs and offroaders will be next off the rank, in January 2016. Two years later cars with engines bigger than two litres will need ESC and, finally, in January 2020 all remaining light passenger and goods vehicles will need to comply.

Basically, sensors detect that the driver has lost control and actuates brakes and accelerator in order to get things back in order.

This is a massive leap forward for road safety in New Zealand. Of course, there were those who squealed when this life-saving technology was made compulsory.

But they should take a drive around their own city and count the random acts of stupidity. Overseas stats put the reduction in crashes resulting from losing control around 30 per cent.

If it's proven to cut these sort of accidents by a third, why is it going to take another six years to get full compliance?

Talking about this with a mate the other day - the same day yet another child was tragically killed in their own driveway - we got on to what other safety features should be compulsory. Reversing cameras - or at the least sensors - were obviously a hot topic that day.

We've got a pitiful record of killing kids in our own driveways, and it's probably the worst thing for a parent to have to deal with. I don't have kids myself, but I'm pretty keen not to run any over.

Then there are the savings on damage caused by the surprising number of people who simply cannot use reverse properly without some kind of near-miss or crunching noise.

Would this technology be worth considering for introduction - or are there others that you think are more necessary?

Let us know at nzherald.co.nz/driven or facebook.com/DrivenNZ

- NZ Herald

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