Breaking Down Toyota’s Star Safety System

Purchase any Toyota model today and it will automatically come with something that’s being marketed as a “Star Safety System.” The New York Times recently discovered what exactly that means. You can decide if it’s important. While car insurance companies will probably give you a safety discount on this type of vehicle, it may not go beyond what you can get elsewhere.

Toyota’s Star Safety System is not a package of new safety features. In fact, it’s simply a re-packaging of old safety features. While the package could save you a lot on your car insurance, none of the safety features were developed by Toyota themselves. Instead, they claim “innovation” in packaging these options together and making them standard on every vehicle sold in the United States.

Let’s break down the elements. The Star Safety System includes:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a computer technology that improves vehicle safety and stability by anticipating and minimizing skidding. When ESC senses the driver has lost steering control, it automatically hits the brakes to help direct the vehicle where the driver wants to go. This technology has been around since the early 90s and was marketed as a Traction Control System, Electronic Stability Program, and AdvanceTrac, to name a few. Toyota markets ESC as Vehicle Stability Control, but this is really just semantics.
  • An Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) prevents the wheels from locking up while braking. Mercedes Benz first released ABS in 1978.
  • Electronic Brake-Force Distribution apportions the braking force between wheels. It senses the road conditions as well as load distribution and speed and adjusts the brake pressure accordingly. It’s a subsystem of ABS and is designed to reduce wear on the brake system itself.
  • Brake Assist is designed to help the driver stop in case of an emergency. It slams on the brakes automatically if it senses the driver is trying to make an emergency stop. This technology was developed by Daimler-Benz in the late 90s, and they quickly made it standard equipment on all Mercedes-Benz models.
  • Traction control helps drivers stay on the road by assuring the tires are making adequate contact with the road and that there is sufficient traction for the rate of speed and amount of acceleration. If the driver tries to gun it through a wet intersection, for example, traction control would decrease the rate of acceleration. Traction control was first developed by Buick, and has been around since the early 70s.

So, is the Star Safety System a big deal? Well, only if you consider that Toyota is making all of these features standard on all of their US models. Most people buying a low-end vehicle these days don’t have access to all that safety technology.

Safety features such as these can help keep you and your loved ones safe on the road. Car insurance carriers will also give you a discount for features such as these. The extra savings and the peace of mind make it a good idea to consider Toyota for its Star Safety System.

Photo via Jeff Glucker

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