(Reuters) - Computer-controlled braking systems in cars and light trucks are saving thousands of lives in the United States, according to a three-year study released on Friday federal safety regulators.
The systems have been required on all light-duty trucks and passenger vehicles under a 2007 federal safety regulation. The requirement was phased in over the years covered the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study.
It estimated that the technology saved more than 2,200 lives from 2008 through 2010, including 634 in 2008, 705 in 2009 and 863 in 2010.
So-called electronic stability control systems use computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to help drivers keep control of a vehicle that is beginning to swerve or lose stability.
All new light vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2011 are required to have the system. In May, the NHTSA proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard to require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on large commercial trucks and large buses for the first time.
In a statement on Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said: "As more vehicles on the road are equipped with ESC in the coming years, we know the technology will save even more lives."
The agency said applying the technology to the heavy-duty fleet could prevent up to 56 percent of rollover crashes each year and 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes in those vehicles.
(Reporting Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing Grant McCool)