Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is recommended by the automobile manufacturers as it provides drivers with stability on the road, particularly during braking. Again, it assists drivers in crash avoidance as it decreases the risk of skidding or total loss of control resulting from over-steering. In most cases, ECS gets activated in the event of loss of vehicle control by the driver. However, despite the general approval, accidents occur even with vehicles fitted with the system. Even after the installation of ECS, some automobiles have experienced stability control challenges, thus the need to reassess the effectiveness of the system. The research focuses on determining the effectiveness of the system in assisting drivers to attain maximum stability of their vehicles. Also, it seeks to answer the questions relating to the provided firmness on the road ensured by ESC and its other general shortcomings. The overall review of the Electronic Stability Control will thus discuss in details whether or not the system could be trusted. Also, the research seeks to determine the extent to which drivers should rely on the system as well as its overall efficiency.
Over the years, several research works have been published by various countries and research groups evaluating ESC system’s effectiveness in crash rates reduction. The studies were classified as either prospective or retrospective (Wood, 2001). The former aimed at making an estimation of the possible effectiveness of the system on the basis of different crash types profile observations in the real world. An example of a prospective study done by Sferco, Page, Le Coz, & Fay, P (2001) used European Accident Causation Survey (EACS) and contained data relating to 1,600 crashes that occurred on European roads. Information about ESC was given to experts to evaluate and explain the collisions. The experts concluded that the system was effective to a certain level. Another research by Lyckegaard, Hels, & Inger ‘Effectiveness of ESC on Single-Vehicle Accidents’ (2015) aimed at assessing the efficiency of ESC. The basis for the evaluation was accidents with single-vehicle injury, as it controls for several confounders the influence on the risk of accidents. The findings of the research concurred with previous similar works that concluded that ESC had a 31% reduction in vehicle injury accidents (Lyckegaard, Hels, & Inger, 2015). It was done through control of various factors relating to a car, driver and surrounding at the time of the accident.
In the retrospective studies, some of them have shown diverse results depending on the country and target crash type (Wood, 2001). For example, Kreiss investigations of 2005 in Germany regarding all, as well as fatal, ESC responsive collisions found estimation reductions to stand at 32.45 and 55.5%, respectively (Kreiss, 2005). Similarly, a study by Lie, Tinqwall, Krafft, & Kullgren (2006) in Sweden for all-injury and all-serious and fatal accidents indicated a 16.7 and 21.6 reduction rate in that order. Again, the same study found a serious loss of control and fatal outcome for wet and icy roads to stand at 56.2% and 49.2%, respectively (Lie, Tinqwall, Krafft, & Kullgren, 2006). In the US, for multiple vehicle SUV and car, the indicators stood at 34.5% and 25%, respectively, according to the research by Farmer (Farmer, 2006).
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At first, the hypothesis tested the related measures of fatality, injury, as well as the severity of the accidents. The theory tested whether cars fitted with ESC had a similar probability of injuring an occupant, being fatal or severe injuries, as vehicles without the system. The two-sided focus was made on the presence and absence of ESC and the impact to the vehicles. The second one related to drivers both male and female as well as the surroundings of the purported accident. The test encompasses the need to know whether both male and female drivers experienced the same challenges as well as their ability to handle them.
The data used to evaluate Electronic Stability Control during crashes got obtained from several sources including police reports, responses from drivers, as well as those from the automobile manufacturers. Drivers from different regions of the country received questionnaires requesting to share their experiences of the use of motor vehicles fitted with ESC. The drivers were selected based on gender, region, the date of manufacturing, and type of car. To ensure the variables were well catered for, a mixture of simple random and stratified sampling methods of selections were used to make sure respondents were from different areas of the country and had a clear representation of both genders, as well as different car types. The next group was the manufacturers.
Questionnaires were sent to them regarding their expectations of the effectiveness and performance of the system. Since the manufacturers were not numerous, a simple random sampling method approach was applied. The other data collection segment was obtained from the police reports. The reports were picked from several stations chosen through stratified sampling. The stratified method was applied in choosing the reports used due to their quantity. At first, the reports were grouped based on the region to which they were from before further grouping them according to the target crash type. Although it could appear necessary to group them in terms of gender, it was observed that the variable had already been addressed by the questionnaires sent to drivers. From all the data collected, several fields were to be filled including gender, region and crash type. By collision type, it meant indications as to whether the crash was fatal, severe, sensitive or insensitive, and the probability of many or single vehicle involvement. The outcome of each variable was considered as the core in determining how different people, as well as situations, will relate to Electronic Stability Control System.
Data collected from the various participants was to be matched with observations made and compared. A total of 1000 and 15 surveys were conducted for drivers and auto manufacturers, respectively. However, not all the questionnaires to drivers were responded to, with feedback being received on 936 individuals. Moreover, a total of 500 police reports were sampled to undergo analysis during the research. For the police reports, data on accident reports for both vehicles with ESC and those that did not have the installation was collected for comparison purposes.
Analyzing the collected data involved several segments intended for comparison. At first, models such as logistic regression came to use in measuring the existing disparities for ESC fitted secondary safety in comparison to non-fitted autos. Again, vehicle crashes were first evaluated in the rear end, as well as all the other collisions. Nevertheless, most drivers disclosed that they were encouraged to act carelessly when driving if they realized their vehicles had ESC installations. The parameters were used in the estimation of the approximated effectiveness regarding the risk of crash reduction, which resulted from cars fitted with ESC, hence improved secondary safety. Further, other models applied related to injury risk as well as its severity. The injury risk method helped in estimating that drivers got injured in case of a tow-away crash. On the other hand, the severity formula projected whether the driver was seriously wounded or killed.
Furthermore, according to the data on the gender, 35% of respondents were female and 65% male. According to the results, men were found to be more prone to the risks as opposed to their women counterparts. In most cases, women were found to practice extra care on roads unlike men, thus the high number of accidents involving the latter in police reports. Since the initiation of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drastic reductions in the single-vehicle crashes became notable. On the vehicle model or type, the stability for cars and SUVs stood at 52% and 76%, respectively. For fatal accidents, there was a decrease of 43% and 70% for both cars and the SUVs (Farmer, 2006). Moreover, for those drivers whose vehicles were installed with the system, they claim stability was good while on abrupt slippery maneuvers. Additionally, it was easy to correct a looming over or under steering, as well as the enhancement of control techniques on gravel patches. Besides, they also registered improved traction on icy as well as greasy roads.
In a nutshell, Electronic Stability Control makes an ardent contribution to the reduction of road menace as well as injuries originating from such accidents. From the research, it has become evident that the system has its effectiveness. Vehicles installed with ESC seemed to operate with ease of control for their drivers. Although that was not to a 100%, it was high, with some aspects registering above 65% of effectiveness. However, there exist other underlying contributors that lead to the success being not fully achieved. For instance, careless driving undermines the operations of the system (Vadeby, 2011). Therefore, factors such as gender have minimal effect and do not touch on the success of the system rather it depends on individual driver’s steadiness and caution on the road.