Traffic SafetyBMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7487.367 (Published 10 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:367
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I'm not sure if the above quote should be attributed to Leonard Evans or Dinesh Mohan, but the conclusion that the introduction of ABS (Anti-Lock Brakes) has led to more rollover crashes strikes me as very odd.
I suspect there are at least a few confounding factors at play here.
As mentioned elsewhere in the article, sales of SUVs have soared, and these vehicles have quite different driving and accident dynamics than smaller saloons, and are much more vulnerable to rollover accidents than smaller cars with lower centres of gravity. I would suggest that the increase in rollover accidents is at least partly caused by the increased fraction of SUVs on the roads.
The hypothesis that "better braking performance encourages greater speed" is in itself controversial, and again, the development of brake performance is not directly linked to ABS. Brake performance in cars has become steadily better over the past several years, independent of the introduction of ABS.
Furthermore, German road safety researchers (at DEKRA, if I remember correctly) have recently looked at electronic safety devices (stability management, brake assistants) in German luxury cars (Mercedes S-class), and found that since the introduction of ESP (Electronic Stability Program) systems in the mid-nineties, the rate of road accidents involving the same class of car has fallen sharply.
If there's any evidence that identical cars with and without ABS brakes in fact have different rates of rollover accidents, and/or that drivers of such identical cars choose to drive at different speeds, I would love to see it. Until I see such data, however, I will continue to view ABS brakes as an important and positive contribution to road safety.
Competing interests: None declared
Competing interests: No competing interests