Electronic stability control senses when a driver might lose control of the vehicle and automatically applies brakes to individual wheels to help stabilize it and avoid a rollover. Many vehicles, including sport utility vehicles, already have the technology, and several automakers have outlined plans to make it a standard feature. The mandate has been widely supported in the industry. “There seems to be general recognition from auto manufacturers and the suppliers and safety advocates that this is technology that will save” thousands of lives, said Nicole Nason, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. General Motors Corp. called it “a significant step forward in improving safety for millions of drivers and passengers alike.” William Kozyra, president and chief executive of Continental Automotive Systems North America, a top supplier, said the device “sets the stage for the next frontier to reduce motor vehicle fatalities.” NEW YORK – The government said Thursday that it will require all new passenger vehicles to have anti-rollover technology by the 2012 model year, predicting that the stabilizing device could save thousands of lives. The Transportation Department said electronic stability control could prevent between 5,300 and 9,600 deaths annually and up to 238,000 injuries a year once it is standard on all automobiles. “Like air bags and like seat belts, 10 years down the road we’re going to look back and wonder how the ESC technology was ever lived without,” Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said at the New York International Auto Show. The technology could help motorists avoid skidding across icy or slick roads or help them maintain control of their car when swerving to avoid an unexpected object in the road. John Krafcik, a Hyundai Motor America vice president, said in an interview that the automaker pushed to implement the technology because “the evidence was so amazingly compelling.” Stability control is standard on about three-fourths of new Hyundai vehicles. More than 43,000 people are killed annually on the nation’s roadways. Safety advocates view electronic stability control as a major advancement in safety because it holds the potential of reducing rollover deaths. Some safety groups said the requirements were not stringent enough and failed to push automakers to put the most advanced systems on their cars. Joan Claybrook, the president of Public Citizen, said the regulations were “undercutting the likelihood that manufacturers will continue selling the superior technology now being offered to consumers.” More than 10,000 people die in rollover accidents a year, even though only 3 percent of crashes involve rollovers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that rollover deaths could be cut in half through the technology. Peters said nearly 40 percent of all 2007 vehicles already have the technology, including about 90 percent of SUVs. NHTSA said the proposal, which applies to new vehicles under 10,000 pounds, would cost about $111 per vehicle on those that already include antilock brakes, or a total of $479 per vehicle for the entire system. Automakers will need to comply with a 50 mph test involving a double-lane change. The requirement first was proposed last year, and the final regulations include a swifter phase-in plan. Stability control will be implemented beginning in the 2009 model year, when 55 percent of new vehicles will need to have it. By the 2011 model year, it will be in 95 percent of new vehicles. Congress had required NHTSA to implement a rule by 2009.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!