back to article UN mandates stability control in trucks - cars to follow

The United Nations has agreed the roll-out of Electronic Stability Control on passenger vehicles from next year, meaning psycho boy racers will have to drive even faster before they can cause mayhem on Euro-roads. A UN meeting in Geneva last week agreed to require the fitting of electronic stability control to heavy vehicles, …


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  1. Paul

    What a load of rubbish.

    What a stupid thing. I can see why you want this stuff on a bus, but on cars? It just adds mass and therefor increases CO2... Yes, It will make you safer, but only if you are unsafe in the first place. Im sticking with my bike.

  2. M


    How is this any different to the ESP fitted in my current car??

    Almost any modern car as some form of basic ESP, ESC, ES[insert random letter here] type system and has done for years..

    Not sure about trucks, but I would expect it to be much the same story.

    Of course all that happens is you get rid of darwinianism, allowing muppets to jump on their breaks while going round a tight corner in the soaking rain and not dump their car in a ditch which would obviously be a much safer place for said muppet to be in his car then on the road with the rest of us >80)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm great idea

    Can I get that installed in my shoes for that difficult trip home from the pub on a Friday night?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ESC adds minimal mass to a vehicle and if the vehicle already has ABS it won't add any at all as it will use the existing hydraulic switched pumps and plumbing to modulate brake pressure for the ESC.

  5. dave


    ESP (as it's known on my car) is simply the addition of a further ECU and some other electrical gubbins to control the equipment that is already there IIRC, so not much extra weight.

    I'm sure ESP in the past has helped out lots of safe drivers driving under the speed limit, for example spilt diesel on a motorway slip road, unexpected mud from tractors on a country road all hazards that can catch out the most careful drivers.

    Comparing the abilities of cars with and without ESP it makes quite a big difference, you can turn it off on my car which i'm sure many budding stigs do (i don't) will this new ruling mean there isn't an off button?

  6. TeeCee Gold badge

    Shurely shome mishtake?

    The Eurodroids being on their dictatorial high horses I could understand, but the UN? They don't have the authority to mandate anything anywhere.

    The best they could do would be to pass a resolution empowering someone to ask the various governments *really* nicely if they'd like to find time in their busy schedules to possibly think about the potential of drafting legislation that might go some way towards this. They'd then get the usual answer involving sex and travel from most of them.........

  7. H2Nick

    won't help when drivers nod off

    Early traffic reports often have "truck overturned" reports re M25, I guess because the driver had an unintentional nap.

  8. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Erm..

    From the EU Commission stuff I've seen on mandatory ESC, the theory is that cheaper cars that aren't fitted with it tend to be the ones driven by young people. And young people tend to have more accidents due to them, for example, losing control when cornering. So if all cars are fitted with ESC, they won't lose control so much. Unless, er, they drive faster because they've got ESC.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    EU != UN

    Nuff said.

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Just requiring left-hand drive trucks to have proper mirrors fitted when travelling in RHD countries would be a bigger safety improvement. That and training the drivers to look in them. There'd be fewer overturned trucks if the drivers didn't have to swerve to avoid cars they "didn't see".

  12. Michael Willems

    Huh? UN?

    I actually read this in the link.. "...the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe braking Regulation (Regulation 13)".


  13. Solomon Grundy

    Young Drivers

    UN is gay.

  14. Shaun

    Off button?

    This is bad. For most cars this will be fine, but imagine if you've just spent 35K on a Monaro, or worse 100k on a new Ferarri. If the EU are insisting that all cars have these features, does that mean that manufacturers won't be allowed to fit an off button?

    I vote we send Jeremy Clarkson to Brussels with an AK47...............

  15. Luke Wells

    Will make people drive with less care

    I agree with some of the comments that if all cars have ESP/ESC as standard then people will drive with less care as they will be expecting the car to "save them" every time they do something silly.

    Personally I don't do the above. If I ever see the ESP light flicker in my car, then I make note to myself that next time I aproach that corner, I will do it at a lower speed.

    ESP/ESC is no mirricle worker though. Not so long ago, I got into a bit of a mess on a oil coverved road early one morning. The ESP light was flashing away and the car was sliding all over the place and nothing I seemed to do would get the car back into a straight line and stopped. Fortunatly I escaped undamaged from that, but still the ESP didn't seem to be able to cope with that situation.

  16. SImon Hobson Silver badge


    Yes, ESC does improve control of a vehicle - but only until the laws of physics say "enough is enough" and things let go BIG TIME !

    So I confidently predict that even more people will have even bigger crashes ! Instead of getting some feedback that they are on the limit (as in "bl**dy hell, I only just got round that corner"), drivers will get no feedback until the limits of grip are reaches, the ESC gives up in confusion, and the car exits the road at higher speed and in even less predictable direction ! It's not for nothing that 'mass market' cars are designed to understeer (in general).

    Oh yes, and I'd like to know how ESC will prevent rollovers once the CoG is outside the footprint of the tyres on the road ?

  17. Andy Enderby
    Thumb Down

    stability control....

    Is a standard fitment on my 4 year old rear wheel drive sports car - I grant it may be known to the public at large by another name - ie my feet and my hands and my co-ordination of same.

    Given the percentage of the year that Northern European roads are less than optimally grippy, it astounds me that there remains no obligation to demonstrate even basic understanding of what needs to be done if a drivers vehicle loses grip for any reason.

    I've driven karts in the rain on slicks (fun if you are not trying to acheive anything), motorcycles with snow on the roads (damn good fun), motorcycles on diesel (always garanteed to raise your pulse rate) courtesy of leaky Birmingham City Council vehicles, and our wee sportscar in all sorts of filthy conditions. The only time I've been worried ? Looking in the rear view mirror and observing a front wheel drive saloon (allegedly safer) spinning gracefully toward my rear bumper the driver having lost it on the same icy junction I took at appropriate speed and had no trouble with.

    The only times I have ever been involved in an accident ? Near fatal encounter with a blind taxi driver turning right despite my being so close I could almost whisper in his ear that looking right might be a good idea, and two close encounters with uber saloon/hatchback drivers who trusted their respective traction/stability aids would allow them to do the impossible, one of whom struck the bus I was a passenger on - his alcohol content would have allowed him ot burn with a steady blue flame, and another bright spark who drove their hot hatchback directly into the rear of my wifes VW Beetle having failed to recognise that looking forward is more important than doing her make up (literally). Not one of these classically recognised accidents (2xnot looking where they were going, 1xdrunk darwin candidate) would have been prevented by ESC, ABS or traction control.

    How about a compulsory half hour of basic skid pad training for all ? Or reduced insurance for those of us that can demonstrate the required level of CLUE....?

  18. Sam

    Intelligence startup check?

    Al a Nicole Kidman's advert..

    "I'm sorry, you are too stupid to drive. darwinianism is spelt Darwinism, break is spelt Brake, the doors are now locked. Please relax and breathe deeply while this car ports its exhaust into the passenger compartment.."

    Ok, I nicked the last bit from a SciFi story, but I can't remember what it's called..

  19. Anonymous Coward


    I am not sure to which Nicole Kidman advertisement Sam is referring, but does he (or, indeed, she) mean 'à la' rather than 'al a'?

  20. Dan


    I thought that only the security council of the UN could make 'binding resolutions' or 'mandate' anything? Since when does my non-elected non-governmental agency get to require anything of me?

    Mine's the trenchcoat with the .45 in the right pocket.

  21. Mark Allen
    Black Helicopters


    You have missed the real story here... this is just another step along the Rise of The Machines!! This kit will be linked to the SatNav ready to take over... and drive unwary owners over random cliffs. :D Or straight to jail for non-payment of random road taxes.

    Drivers aids.... bah!! I agree with the above comments about electronics dont help. Best safety add-on for a car would be a large spike coming out of the steering wheel... make the driver think a bit.

    (BTW - why does my spell checker want to change "SatNav" to "Satan"? Is it trying to agree with my post? heheh)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    RE: RoTM

    There's hope yet! Apparently, there are traitors on the Machine side as well as the Human side!

  23. Anonymous Coward

    The worthless UN

    it won't mess with it's feeding hand in the form of dictatorships and terrorist groups funneling in tons of oil-cash, it doesn't have the balls to confront obscenely rich and psychotically violent Islamic princes and their proxy armies in genocidal campaigns across the world. It can pretend it's got authority over the little people, remove rights wherever it can, work to dominate Western societies so that their rich friends can drain their respective countries dry, while begging for more Western aid money. In the interim, they can run their scandals, use diplomatic couriers to run enough drugs to put the local dealers on notice, and support the illicit sex and child slavery industries in DC and worldwide.

    The UN. A good idea that failed. needs to be tried again. But the current one is so much garbage. Why do people keep trying the same failures the same way over and over again, and expect a different result? Isn't that the definition of insanity?

    Having *any* world governing body full of unelected appointees is a bad idea. Didn't work fro the UN, isn't doing so well in the EU.

  24. Mr Chris

    @the "worthless" UN

    "it doesn't have the balls to confront obscenely rich and psychotically violent Islamic princes and their proxy armies in genocidal campaigns across the world. "

    "It", in this case, being the security council being vetoed by one or more of the US, Russia or China, depending on whose pet dictator is causing the problem.

    There's nothing wrong with the UN - but there's a lot wrong with the governments who have too much say in what it can do.

  25. David S

    What Andy Enderby said. And...

    Another idea might be compulsory re-sitting of driving tests every ten years or so, perhaps at increasingly advanced levels, and with the results influencing insurance premiums.

    Quite like the spike-in-the-steering-wheel idea, but it would have done for Mrs Enderby when that idiot rear-ended her. Remember, you're not the only idiot on the road (as my old Dad used to say...)

  26. Steve
    Thumb Up

    All the naysayers

    The argument put forward that drivers will just drive worse because of greater safety aids is an argument to stop all progress. We'd all still have drum brakes that were linked to the pedal with a cable if thinking like that was listened to.

    ESP is very effective, but only an idiot would rely on it to get them around a corner. If it kicks in then you know you've made a mistake.

    I do turn mine off though, you can't get sideways when it's turned on.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh good..

    More things that make you feel safer and encourage bad drivers to take more risks.

    More things to fix when they go mental and stop working properly and are probably only fixable by the local ~insert car manufacturer here~ stealership too.

    The vast majority of accidents are caused by the component situated between the steering wheel and the driver's seat. Retrain the bad ones, make the worst ones pedestrians.

  28. Joe Stalin
    Thumb Up

    @Off button?

    I vote we send Jeremy Clarkson as far away as possible, give him a trip to test a new moon buggy, on the moon and then tell him that it's one of those challange type stories they do, the challange is to get back to earth before the oxygen runs out. oh yeah, and only half fill the O2 tank.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    as an addition to the above....

    I might ask if any of our would be legislators have ever attempted to drive a conventional road car with traction control, ABS and ESC on ice or snow.... To say it can prove an interesting experience with all that expensive electronics overiding driver inputs is putting it mildly.

    As with all such dictats, follow the money, some bunch of automotive electronics manufacturers lobbyists will have had a busy couple of months I suspect, and a corresponding number of UN/EU types will have been expensively wined and dined..

    At the very least they may want to commt to some back to back tests of vehicles with/without all this tech in dodgy conditions before foisting this peace of nonesense. Still it's easy to pass comment when there only encounter with motoring involves a guy in a smart uniform and peaked cap (on the UN/EU (delete as applicable) tit of course).

  30. John Werner

    Computers can't beat Physics

    Somehow people seem to thing computers can solve anything. ESC is not some silver bullet that will suddenly allow an inexperienced driver to beat the laws of physics. It something that will allow an experienced driver to get into bigger trouble before they realize that the laws of physics are immutable.

    In other words, instead of hitting the tree at 15 mph because they lost it in the snow and were driving without snow tires, they will now hit the tree at 30mph because the ESC let them get in deeper before it had to yield to physics.

    The real solution should be REAL driver's education that includes instilling the essential understanding of the physics of driving (weight transfer, traction circles, etc.) with what if feels like to practically deal with them while driving. The Street Survival Schools ( are a good model.

    BTW, I know that in some places in the world, driver's licenses don't come easy and the training is practical. In most of the US, all you need is to pass a short multiple guess test and then take a drive around the block with the tester.

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