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U.S. road traffic authority to make ESP® mandatory in drive to reduce road deaths further


ESP® to become standard in the U.S.

· NHTSA plans regulation requiring ESP® on all light cars from September 2008 onward

· ESP® is greatest lifesaving development since the seat belt

· Across-the-board application of ESP® reduces number of single-vehicle crashes in passenger cars by 34 percent and in SUV’s by 59 percent

The U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Authority (NHTSA) plans to significantly increase safety on U.S. roads by making the electronic stability program ESP® a mandatory requirement for all light cars. According to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published on September 14, all light cars in the U.S. with a gross vehicle weight of up to 4.5 metric tons are to be equipped with this active safety system, a requirement that will be phased in gradually from the 2009 model year up to the 2012 model year. This would make the U.S. the first country to mandate the installation of an active safety system. In 2005, every fourth vehicle in this class in the U.S. was equipped with this active safety system. The figure for Europe in the same year was 40 percent of all newly registered vehicles, while in Germany the figure was 72 percent.

The initiative is the result of extensive studies by the NHTSA, which found that installing the active safety system as standard equipment in the U.S. would allow 34 percent of all single-vehicle crashes and 71 percent of all rollovers of passenger cars to be prevented. The number of single-vehicle crashes involving SUV’s would be reduced by as much as 59 percent. Single-vehicle accidents are those that do not involve any other road users. The active safety system was developed by Bosch, and in 1995 Bosch was the first company in the world to begin series-production of the product. NHTSA reports that up to 10,000 lives could be saved every year in the U.S. alone, and as many as 250,000 injuries could be prevented. According to the NHTSA experts, the introduction of ESP® would be the greatest lifesaving development since the seat-belt rule was issued. These findings were largely corroborated by a study published last summer by the North American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It stated that the number of fatal accidents involvings vehicles not equipped with ESP® could be reduced by 43 percent.

Many other associates and institutions worldwide agree with the NHTSA’s conclusions. For example, Thatcham, the British motor insurance repair research center, and GDV, the German insurance association, also call for ESP® to be installed in every class of vehicle. Similarly, one of the recommendations to the EU Commission in the ten-year plan of CARS21, the working group set up by the EU Commission and chaired by Vice President and Commissioner Verheugen, is the mandatory introduction of ESP®.

Comments on the NHTSA draft can be posted over a 60-day period from date of publication. Relevant observations will then be included in the new regulation, entitled “Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) no. 126.”

The Bosch Group is a leading global manufacturer of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology. In fiscal 2005, some 251,000 associates generated sales of 41.5 billion euros. Set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering,” the Bosch Group today comprises a manufacturing, sales, and after-sales service network of more than 280 subsidiaries and more than 12,000 Bosch service centers in over 140 countries.

The special ownership structure of the Bosch Group guarantees its financial independence and entrepreneurial freedom. It makes it possible for the company to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future, as well as to do justice to its social responsibility in a manner reflective of the spirit and will of its founder. A total of 92 % of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by the charitable foundation Robert Bosch Stiftung. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG.

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PI5599 - September 26, 2006


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