Mandating Safety Technology for Light Vehicles
25 October 2013
New technology will play a key role in saving lives on Australian roads from 2015.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Brake Assist Systems (BAS) will be compulsory from 1 November 2015 for new models of light commercial vehicles, with BAS also compulsory for new models of light passenger vehicles from the same date.
ESC is already required for new models of light passenger vehicles (cars, passenger vans and SUVs) and will be required for all new light passenger vehicles from 1 November 2013. It is an advanced stability system that automatically applies the brakes to individual wheels in an emergency helping the driver to steer safely instead of skidding.
Brake Assist Systems detect when a driver is attempting hard braking and help stop the vehicle as quick as possible. This technology is particularly effective in reducing the number and severity of crashes involving vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
Following the success of ESC for light passenger vehicles light commercial vehicles became the next challenge. The light commercial vehicle market is growing in Australia, with an increasing number being purchased as both work and family vehicles.
Recent Australian research has shown that ESC can be up to 30 per cent effective in reducing single vehicle crashes involving these types of vehicles.
Even with high voluntary rates of these brake technologies being fitted to new vehicles mandating ESC could still save up to 29 lives and mandating BAS could save up to 10 lives as well as prevent over 200 serious injuries over a 15-year period of regulation.
Mandating ESC and BAS under the Australian Design Rules are both major initiatives of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020, which aims to reduce the annual number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has been consulted in developing these initiatives and supports the timetable.