LONDON – The European Commission will begin a campaign called "eSafety" designed to create public demand for intelligent vehicle safety systems.

The eSafety initiative was developed under the EC's Road Safety Action Plan, intended to cut the number of deaths on European roadways in half by 2010. Fatalities now total more than 41,000 annually.

The campaign will be launched in April and feature electronic stability control systems. By helping drivers keep control of their cars when steering and braking, ESC has been proven to cut the risk of accidents by 20%, says the U.K.-based Foundation of International Automobile Federation, one of the organizations involved in the program.

FIA is comprised of 26 members representing auto suppliers, auto clubs, road safety authorities and insurance companies.

“Intelligent vehicle systems can…save lives, but you need to know they exist to ask for them," FIA Chair Rosario Alessi tells Ward’s. "It is our job to get them to the users as quickly as possible.”

The new campaign will feature TV, radio and Internet advertising. A key element will be the development of test protocols and a rating system.

Publishing tests, says the FIA, sets benchmarks for quality, attracts media attention, makes results easy for customers to understand and leads to improved technical standards.

One early suggestion is an "eSafety OnBoard" label that auto makers can attach to vehicles fitted with eSafety products.

Further campaigns are planned in other topics, such as eCall, an in-vehicle emergency call system.