Research has found that electronic stability programmes, which form part of many cars’ active safety systems, can reduce the likelihood of fatal crashes by up to 67 per cent.

Research has found that electronic stability programmes, which form part of many cars’ active safety systems, can reduce the likelihood of fatal crashes by up to 67 per cent.

In a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US, it was revealed that the technology was especially effective in preventing rollover accidents, even in 4X4s.

The results were released after the NHTSA studied fatal and non-fatal crashes from 1997 to 2003. It was found that the "technology appears to provide safety benefits by reducing the number of crashes due to driver error and loss of control."

This was because the device had the potential to anticipate situations leading up to some crashes and automatically intervened to assist the driver.

Vehicles fitted with the device were involved in 63 per cent fewer crashes compared with equivalent models not equipped with ESP. Fatal accidents were 30 per cent less likely to occur in passenger cars fitted with the device. In single vehicle accidents, passenger cars were 35 per cent less likely to be involved while 4X4s were safer by up to 67 per cent.

However, the NHTSA pointed out that its results were based on a relatively small sample since only around 10 per cent of vehicles in the US were fitted with ESP.