The Automobile Association says making electronic stability control compulsory in cars will be the single biggest improvement to vehicle safety in 50 years.
Electronic stability control (ESC) is a crash-prevention system that controls the braking of each wheel if a car begins to skid.
The system will be made compulsory in new cars from July 2015 and phased in for used imported cars over five years.
AA principal adviser Mark Stockdale said the motoring organisation had supported compulsory electronic stability control for some time, and the sooner it is introduced, the better.
He said the move could save as many as 20 lives a year on the roads. About 90 percent of new cars already have the system.
Motor Vehicle Industry Association chief executive David Vinsen said the phased introduction is the best way to get safer technology vehicles on the road.
He told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme SUVs are most likely to roll and in Japan were the first to have technology installed, so there will be a good supply of these vehicles.