A recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that stability-control systems could save about 10,000 lives a year if they were standard on all vehicles, according to USA Today
. Stability control, typically standard only on SUVs and luxury cars, uses brakes and engine power to keep cards from veering off course at high speeds or on slippery roads. The institute found that stability control reduced the risk of fatal single-vehicle rollovers by nearly 80 percent and the chances of all types of fatal collisions by 43 percent. Congress gave the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration an October deadline to propose a rule that would require and set standards for stability control. The proposal is expected this summer.Car buyers rarely add stability control in an effort to keep the cost of the vehicle down or because they do not recognize the safety benefits associated with the option, according to The New York Times
. The results of the IIHS study, however, are prompting lawmakers and car manufacturers to take action on making stability control standard equipment. IIHS says stability control is offered on just over half of 2006 models as either a standard feature or an option. Most automakers are making the technology standard on full- and mid-size SUVs and have plans to offer it on more of their vehicles in coming years.The Chrysler Group has produced more than 1.2 million vehicles with the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) since 2004. By the end of 2006, ESP will be standard equipment on all Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep® brand sport-utility vehicles and will be standard or available on more than 70 percent of Chrysler Group models.