Tech: Safe Cruising

Electronic stability control, or ESC (a computerized system that brakes the car if it's out of control), reduces the risk of single-vehicle accidents 41% and fatal ones 56%, according to a study released last week by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Since half the 28,000 fatal passenger-vehicle accidents that occur each year involve a single vehicle, the report noted, some 7,000 lives could have been saved in 2003 alone if ESC had been a standard feature on all vehicles. The report follows similar findings released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in September.

Only 21% of new 2005 vehicles,...

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