General Motors’ commitment to make electronic stability control standard on all GM cars and trucks sold to retail cus tomers in the U.S. and Canada by the end of the decade is supported by a new study that says the lifesaving benefits are greater than shown by earlier studies.

Electronic stability control (ESC), branded as StabiliTrak on GM cars and trucks, is designed to help drivers retain control of their vehicles during high-speed maneuvers or on slippery roads.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in a study released Tuesday, says an update of its 2004 study into the effectiveness of ESC shows:

  • A reduction in single vehicle crashes by more than 40 percent and fatal crashes by 56 percent
  • As many as 10,000 fatal crashes could be avoided each year if all vehicles were equipped with ESC.
  • An 80 percent reduction in the risk of fatal single vehicle rollovers of SUVs.

GM, which was the first au tom aker to make ESC standard on its full-size sport-utility vehicles, announced in January 2005 that it would make ESC standard on all GM cars and trucks sold to retail cus tomers by the end of 2010.

StabiliTrak is standard or available on 45 percent of GM vehicles today – 40 models for the 2006 model year and 43 for the 2007 model year, including the 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche, which is now arriving in dealerships. The Avalanche is the first full-size pickup truck in the industry standard with StabiliTrak.

“The results of the new study are further confirmation of our decision to make this lifesaving technology standard,” said Bob Lange, GM executive director of Structure and Safety Integration. “General Motors first studied the potential for StabiliTrak in the mid-1990s and every study since has added to the evidence of its enormous safety benefits.”

The 1997 Cadillac DeVille was among the first cars to have ESC, and the 2002 Cadillac Escalade was the first SUV in the industry with standard ESC.

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