BCAA Insurance rewards customers for choosing vehicles equipped with Electronic Stability Control

BURNABY, BC, May 8, 2009 – Electronic Stability Control – or ESC – can help prevent a collision, and maybe even save your life. Now, for the first time in Canada, ESC can help save money on your auto insurance, too. BCAA Insurance is introducing a five per cent discount on collision premiums for vehicles equipped with ESC – an innovative way of rewarding customers for choosing the added safety and peace of mind provided by ESC.

ESC is a computer-controlled safety device that monitors the vehicle’s direction compared to the direction of the steering wheel. When the vehicle is in a skid, or if the tires spin, the ESC system will automatically apply braking to certain wheels and may cut engine power to help the driver regain control. The ESC system can actively prevent and reduce skidding conditions and wheel spin before the driver becomes aware of the problem.

Passive devices like seatbelts, airbags, and child seats help drivers and passengers survive a car crash, but the safest vehicle is the one that does not crash at all, explains BCAA Auto Insurance Product Manager, Heather Prizeman.

“By offering a discount we hope to encourage more drivers to select a vehicle equipped with this technology,” says Prizeman. “In addition to being a proven safety device, ESC makes good economic sense, as ‘losing control’ is one of the leading causes of road crashes in Canada.”

“We feel customers with safe driving practices – technical or otherwise – deserve to be rewarded with lower premiums,” adds Prizeman.

According to Canadian crash data from 2000-to-2005, vehicles equipped with ESC were involved in approximately 30 per cent fewer severe crashes due to loss of control. Based on this data, if all passenger vehicles were equipped with ESC, there could be 255 fewer deaths and 1,440 fewer people seriously injured on our roads each year.

The U.S. Department of Transportation was so impressed with ESC that it is requiring all new cars sold in the U.S. to be equipped with ESC by model year 2012. And Transport Canada is currently working on regulations that will require ESC on all new passenger vehicles in a similar timeframe.

Currently, only five per cent of Canadians have vehicles equipped with ESC, but it is available as a relatively inexpensive option on many models. When buying a new vehicle make sure to ask if it has an electronic stability control system, or if it’s available as an option. It appears under various trade names, such as StabiliTrak, Advance Trac, VSC (vehicle-stability control) and ESP (electronic-stability program).

BCAA will be the first insurance provider in Canada to offer a discount on collision premiums for vehicles equipped with ESC. For more information on ESC, please refer to http://www.caa.ca/esc.

About BCAA

BCAA is dedicated to meeting the needs of its members and customers throughout B.C. and the Yukon, connecting them with a team of membership, automotive, travel and insurance professionals. With over 793,000 members and $130 million in revenues, BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C. and the fourth largest CAA-affiliated association in Canada. For the past three years, BCAA was named one the 50 Best Employers in Canada by international HR consultants Hewitt Associates and the Globe & Mail’s Report on Business magazine. To learn more about BCAA’s products, services and member advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation visit www.tsf-bcaa.com.