Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 51

Thread: Should stability control be mandatory?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,732

    Should stability control be mandatory?

    Should stability control be mandatory?
    By Eric Peters

    There is talk of making electronic stability control a mandatory feature on all new cars by 2012.

    Unlike seat belts, padded dashboards and air bags -- which are "passive" safety features that are there to prevent or at least reduce injury in the event of a crash -- electronic stability control is an "active" system designed to help prevent an accident from happening in the first place.

    This begs an interesting question, if you stop to think about it.

    Under what conditions does stability control kick in? Among the commonplace scenarios: Carrying excessive speed into a decreasing radius corner; abrupt steering inputs (which unsettle the car and may cause violent weight transfer, etc.), rapid deceleration caused by panic braking (from following too closely, for example).

    These are problems caused by driver error. Stability control can "correct" for the poor judgment or driver inexperience. But if you stop to think about it, the underlying issue is the poor judgment and inexperience of the driver; it might be more fruitful to fix that than work overtime trying to protect iffy drivers from the consequences of their own lack of skill and good judgment.

    I test drive new cars each week and have done so for the past 12 years -- so I've had plenty of opportunity to drive many different types of vehicles, ranging from ultra-exotic high-performance sports cars to bottom-feeding economy cars. Many of the vehicles I test drive come equipped with electronic stability control. Excepting a few inherently unstable SUVs, the stability control system usually activates only when I've begun to really "push" the vehicle -- high-speed cornering, for example. And when I say that, I mean 20 mph or faster than the normal speed of traffic in that corner.

    Driven within 10 mph of the posted speed limit -- and within the bounds of common sense -- it's rare for the system to ever come on.

    Yes, there are some exceptions. On rain or ice-slicked roads, for example, stability control might save your life (or at least keep you from banging up the sheetmetal). And when we're talking about genuine "accidents" -- for example, a violent skid induced as a result of the driver swerving suddenly to avoid a deer that appeared in the road -- then yes, stability control can make all the difference.

    However, it's equally true that a large percentage of the "accidents" where stability control could be of help aren't really accidents at all. Because these"accidents" could have been avoided had the driver not been driving excessively fast, or beyond his ability to keep the vehicle safely under control. One can't anticipate and may not be able to avoid a deer running into the road. On the other hand, one can anticipate and avoid a wreck caused by deliberately pushing it (the car's limits of grip and one's own abilities) in a high-speed corner. Or by driving excessively fast in poor weather.

    Or in broad daylight, for that matter.

    Stability control might save you from the consequences of your own poor judgment in such cases -- but exercising good judgment would have been just as effective. Perhaps more so. And it surely would be less expensive and complicated.

    Stability control currently adds in the neighborhood of $1,000 in initial, "up front" costs to a new car or truck. And like any other functional aspect of a piece of machinery, it's another "part" (many parts, actually) that will eventually require service -- another expense. As the vehicle it's installed in ages, the cost of repairs grows -- while the worth of the vehicle declines. After eight or ten years, the down-the-road owner of the car may (and likely will) face the prospect of a repair involving $1,000 or more for a car that by then is worth perhaps $2,500.

    Same thing with air bags. Many new/2007 model year vehicles have as many as six of them. But their "shelf life" is about ten years -- at which point the automaker/manufacturer of the air bags warns that the entire system should be inspected and major system components replaced. But who is going to pony up for that kind of big-ticket repair work on a 10-year-old beater? "How much is your life worth?" is just demagoguery. Not everyone can afford a $30,000 new car. Or $1,000 repairs on an older car.

    A balance must be struck.

    Of course, air bags have the argument of passive safety on their side. There's little one can do to prevent someone else from ramming into you after they're run a red light, for example. But with stability control, much of the potential threat is under one's own control -- a qualitative difference. Drive within your limits, with prudence and good judgment -- and the chances of your ever finding yourself in a violent, uncontrollable skid are lowered dramatically.

    Become a highly skilled driver -- by attending a serious driving school such as those run by ex-racers like Bob Bondurant (www.bondurant.com) or Skip Barber (www.skipbarber.com) -- and you will learn how to handle a car in a panic-stop/emergency situation. You'll learn how to react when a car begins to lose grip -- and how to "recover" when a skid happens. And you'll have reduced your need for an electronic crutch like stability control significantly -- to the point where it's legitimate to ask whether it's worth spending the money for it in the first place. And more specifically, whether the government ought to be forcing you to buy it by making it a mandatory "safety" feature on any new car you might buy.

    Arguably, we could make new cars safer by simply expecting more of drivers than by developing ever-more-elaborate (and expensive) ways of keeping marginally competent drivers out of trouble.

    That's not politically correct, of course. We live in an entitlement age, where a driver's license is both easy to get and hard to take away -- even when an individual repeatedly demonstrates incompetence (for example, multiple "at-fault" accidents over a period of less than five years, etc.) But if safer cars -- and fewer accidents and motor vehicle fatalities -- are the goal, at least part of the fix is to insist that drivers up their skill set and behave responsibly behind the wheel.

    Technology can help, of course. But it can't protect us against the consequences of our own poor judgment -- nor should we expect it to. Unless what we expect is a continual "dumbing-down" of the average motorist, with technology picking up the slack.

    And all of us picking up the tab.

    END

  2. #2
    rc74racer
    Guest

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    Should it be mandatory not sure but I'm leaning towards yes. I've driven 3 different cars now that have it and it has worked well I've been quite amazed by it. For myself I'd rather have it off I love driving and sliding the car around a bit but I've logged 100,000s miles on a variety of vehicles, have been racing for over 8 years and considered my skills quite advanced. I think for 99% of the drivers out there it is most certainly beneficial to them and the other drivers they are on the road with. I would not buy a car where it can't be turned off unless there comes a time where no car has that option then I guess I will be forced too or not buy any more new cars. I really think with how crowded our roads are and the increasing level of inexperienced drivers on the road it would be a positive move to make it mandatory. It's like ABS it works great but everyone was worried at first same thing with airbags, saftey belts, etc...it's resistance to change and technology.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,732

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?



    There's more to it than resistance to technology, I'd argue. As I wrote, it's different than passive safety equipment like air bags. Active technologies are arguably helpful - but I'd debate their necessity, let alone the justification for a mandate over simply expecting more in terms of basic competence and sound judgment from drivers.

    We can keep on trying to idiot-proof cars, but it will only make them more complex, more expensive to own and maintain - and without improving the skill set or jugment of drivers. Indeed, it can ne argued that this sort of thing simply encourages more idiot-driving because it hides the consequences (up to a point) of idiot driving...

  4. #4
    rc74racer
    Guest

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    I understand what you are saying here but if these systems become mandatory cost/maintenance will most certainly go down. You are right about all the idiot drivers and poor judgment but let's face the facts here that won't change and proper driver training/education will never happen as much as we need it so in my opinion we are only left with one real option and that's to idiot proof vehicles as much as we can. I'm not 100% for it yet but the more I experience I have with these systems the more I can see the benefit to bad drivers and those on the road with them. The other side of the coin is if we keep doing these types of things then we are encouraging bad behavior behind the wheel but I don't really see any way around it like I said it will be there and increase whether or not stability control becomes mandatory.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,732

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by rc74racer
    I understand what you are saying here but if these systems become mandatory cost/maintenance will most certainly go down. You are right about all the idiot drivers and poor judgment but let's face the facts here that won't change and proper driver training/education will never happen as much as we need it so in my opinion we are only left with one real option and that's to idiot proof vehicles as much as we can. I'm not 100% for it yet but the more I experience I have with these systems the more I can see the benefit to bad drivers and those on the road with them. The other side of the coin is if we keep doing these types of things then we are encouraging bad behavior behind the wheel but I don't really see any way around it like I said it will be there and increase whether or not stability control becomes mandatory.
    I hear that,also - and don't deny the practical realities. It will probably go that way, for just the reasons you mention. For my part, though, it's making new cars less and less enjoyable - because there's less and less "driving" involved. I am not a techno-phobe; but I am opposed to (or just dislike) excessive technology that needlessly adds complexity, hassle and Big Brotherism to my life.


  6. #6
    rc74racer
    Guest

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    This coming from the guy who still prefers carburetors to fuel injection? ;D

    I'd rather be behind the wheel of a 69z28 4spd then a new corvette it's just more fun to me. I will say this though I'd never ride a motorcycle in NOVA again if all the vehicles on the road were comparable to a 69z28 it would be a wreck fest!

    Unfortunately we live in a world of morons that take no personal responsibility for anything and need to have anything harmful removed from them. I wonder some times if planet of the apes is really fiction or a glimpse into our future! ???

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC, USA
    Posts
    3,628

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    I had stability systems on both the Mercedes and the MINI. I'm also looking for the system to be on the next car I buy.

    It saved me at least once in the Merc -- I was going too fast into a reverse-banked curve. Totally my fault, but the system saved me from sliding into the BMW in the oncoming lane. If I had hit him, the cost to repair both vehicles would have been many times the $1000 price of the system.

    Also - The software of the two systems couldn't have been more different. The Mercedes system stepped in pretty early, while the MINI (BMW) would allow some sliding before stepping in.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,732

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    I had stability systems on both the Mercedes and the MINI. I'm also looking for the system to be on the next car I buy.

    It saved me at least once in the Merc -- I was going too fast into a reverse-banked curve. Totally my fault, but the system saved me from sliding into the BMW in the oncoming lane. If I had hit him, the cost to repair both vehicles would have been many times the $1000 price of the system.

    Also - The software of the two systems couldn't have been more different. The Mercedes system stepped in pretty early, while the MINI (BMW) would allow some sliding before stepping in.

    Chip H.
    I totally understand that - and have no problemw ith stability control, provided two things are allowed:

    One, it can be fully turned off when the driver wishes; not "partially" disabled.

    Two, it remain an optional feature, not a government mandate.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,934

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    I am AGAINST mandated electronic systems.

    full stop.

    Nice to have 'em as an option, though, whether they be efi or suspension-drive management.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,635

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    >>I am AGAINST mandated electronic systems.<<

    If they were options, the wrong people would buy them--- The ones that need the system the worst will opt out---

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,732

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rose
    >>I am AGAINST mandated electronic systems.<<

    If they were options, the wrong people would buy them--- The ones that need the system the worst will opt out---
    Yes, but why should everything always revolve around the least common denominator?

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,635

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    >>Yes, but why should everything always revolve around the least common denominator? <<

    If you look at the facts of the one car accidents, most are caused by inexperienced or inept drivers. All those knuckleheads could run into you during one of their events. I'd just as soon have the system as standard equipment and make those idiots safer.
    The problem is one of a growing driving population. It ain't a luxury anymore!

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,732

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rose
    >>Yes, but why should everything always revolve around the least common denominator? <<

    If you look at the facts of the one car accidents, most are caused by inexperienced or inept drivers. All those knuckleheads could run into you during one of their events. I'd just as soon have the system as standard equipment and make those idiots safer.
    The problem is one of a growing driving population. It ain't a luxury anymore!
    I'd rather run the risk than try to create a risk-free society - one where everyone's freedom to act is circumscribed by the least competent and most irresponsible among us!

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,934

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rose
    >>I am AGAINST mandated electronic systems.<<

    If they were options, the wrong people would buy them--- The ones that need the system the worst will opt out---
    That may be, and in that case the people who most need stability control [most of us most of the time] should be encouraged to use it. Not forced [and how do you enforce it?]

    I dislike risk-free living, but then I am a lucky survivor of misadventure. In general terms I feel sorry for kids who don't know how to play, how to fix machines, how to get hurt...

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    840

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    I am against mandates of almost every kind. That would include things like mandatory stability control, and speed limiters.
    A man's greatest mistake is to think he is working for somebody else.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,635

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    >>I'd rather run the risk than try to create a risk-free society - one where everyone's freedom to act is circumscribed by the least competent and most irresponsible among us!<<

    It's a madd,madd, madd, madd world-- I came close to putting a limiter on adude driving a new Z car yesterday--- he came across the parking lot 90 degrees to the traffic flow and had I not stopped after flashing my lights and blowing the horn, he would be a dead dude-- He`happenned to be an employee of the Home Depot Store that I was going to shop at.
    I watched him park -- get out of his car and go into the store-- I followed and confronted him with words that he and the spectators will not forget for a while. He said he didn't see me--- Bullshit is what I said-- no one travels across a parking lot against traffic at that speed without looking first. I then told him that perhaps if I gave him a little eye surgery with my fist he'd pay a little more attention. His boss agreed--- I left and did my shopping---
    It's assholes like that who need limiters-- he's the type that assumes that because he has guts, everyone will look out for him.
    I'll remember that idiot, the car and plate-- I'm at this store often --

  17. #17
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,732

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    "It's assholes like that who need limiters-- he's the type that assumes that because he has guts, everyone will look out for him.
    I'll remember that idiot, the car and plate-- I'm at this store often --
    Agreed!

    I'd be all for requiring that demonstrated incompetents be required to drive cars with stability control, speed limiters, etc. I just object - reasonably, I think - to forcing everyone to be constrained by the actions of idiots.

    Let's focus on the idiots, eh?

    It'd be more effective - and a lot more fair!

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1,071

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    Ironical, isn't it? To suit American tastes, cars are built with soft, underdamped suspension & over-assisted, lifeless steering, now the insurers are demanding complicated electronic hardware to make the cars handle in an emergency just like the the European-market version does on standard suspension!

  19. #19
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,732

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Ironical, isn't it? To suit American tastes, cars are built with soft, underdamped suspension & over-assisted, lifeless steering, now the insurers are demanding complicated electronic hardware to make the cars handle in an emergency just like the the European-market version does on standard suspension!
    It is!

    Equally ironic that cars have never been as capable (and safe) as they are today - and yet because drivers' competence hasn't kept pace, the cars have to be "idiot-proofed" to keep these marginal drivers from getting in trouble with the higher power/capability that new cars offer!

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,635

    Re: Should stability control be mandatory?

    >>Let's focus on the idiots, eh? <<

    And how would you propose to single these idiots out?


Similar Threads

  1. Stability Control and Idiot Proofing
    By Eric in forum Technophobia
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-09-2010, 11:55 PM
  2. All 2009 VWs to come standard with stability control
    By Eric in forum Automotive News
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-10-2008, 01:34 AM
  3. Make in-car Breathalyzers Mandatory?
    By Eric in forum Motor Mouth
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 09-17-2007, 03:46 PM
  4. Mandatory back-up cameras?
    By Eric in forum Motor Mouth
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 03-02-2007, 08:13 AM
  5. Mandatory Stability Control
    By TC in forum Automotive News
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-08-2007, 07:51 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •