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Imports dominate safety list

Domestic car firms slower to adopt stability controls

DETROIT -- Imported models took all 13 spots on the U S insurance industry's list of safest vehicles this year, due mainly to a new requirement that all cars and sport utilities on the list have systems to keep them stable in an emergency.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety isn't bashful about pushing electronic stability control, saying that its studies show up to 10,000 fatal crashes per year could be prevented if every vehicle had the safety feature.

"The research is so compelling that electronic stability control could help prevent many crashes from happening in the first place," said Russ Rader, an institute spokesman.

All 13 vehicles on the list are tops in protecting people in front, side, and rear crash tests based on institute tests during the year. Pickup trucks were not included because the institute has not yet tested them in side crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed requiring electronic stability control on all new vehicles by the 2012 model year, but institute president Adrian Lund said that's not soon enough.

Ford spokesman Jim Cain said all three vehicles will get stability control for the 2008 model year, with some versions equipped with the safety feature on sale next year.

General Motors Corp. said nearly two years ago that it would make the technology standard in all vehicles by 2010, including all SUVs and some full-size pickups in the 2007 model year.

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