IIHS May Consider Active Safety Features in Crash Ratings
A move by Euro NCAP, the European crash-testing agency, to consider active safety systems in crash-test rankings of new vehicles, may be influencing the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the U.S. to take a similar action, according to an article by Zach Bowman in Autoblog. Bowman writes that Russ Rader, a spokesperson with IIHS told Autoblog, “Based on the evidence of the effectiveness of auto-brake systems, we expect them to be added to our evaluations in the future.”
And because IIHS has seen evidence that adaptive headlight systems “greatly reduce the risk of crashes,” such systems might also become part of the agency’s crash evaluations, Bowman writes.
In an article, “Future Crash Test Scores Could Include Active Safety Systems,” in the MSN Autos blog Exhaust Notes, Clifford Atiyeh discusses how the European agency’s plans could affect U.S. crash testing:
The IIHS did not say when it might revise the tests, nor is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration planning to change its own ratings. (NHTSA had proposed ranking active safety systems on an ‘A to C’ scale, but so far, nothing has come of it.) However, after a yearlong test of aftermarket safety systems running in Honda Accords, NHTSA concluded that as many as 788,000 accidents could be prevented each year, but only if every car were so equipped. Any potential changes in crash-test ratings to where a top score would require active safety systems could force more automakers to offer the features on cheaper cars.
As Chris Knapman reports in The Telegraph, Phillippe Jean of the European Commission (EC) believes Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is so effective in preventing accidents “that he has announced that commercial vehicles will be required to have AEB fitted to gain European Type Approval from November 2013, a strategy that’s also under consideration for passenger cars.”
In addition, Euro NCAP has announced it will include AEB in its car safety assessments starting in 2014, Knapman writes, “and that it will be ‘practically impossible’ for models not carrying it to obtain the maximum five-star rating.” That is part of the European Union’s overall goal to cut traffic deaths in half by 2020, Atiyeh writes.
Knapman goes on to write:
Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP, said: ‘We don’t want to force them [car makers] into this immediately, but we’ve made it very clear that the best way to ensure a five-star rating from 2014 is to have AEB on the vehicle.’
Atiyeh notes that with few exceptions, those U.S. cars equipped with the most critical active safety features — like lane departure warning, auto-braking, and pedestrian detection — are luxury cars costing more than $40,000, although in Europe, Ford, Mazda, Volkswagen, and Honda all offer these systems on lower-cost models at a minimal cost. He says the outlook is improving for U.S. car buyers, as Honda is introducing collision alert and lane departure warning in the 2013 Accord; Subaru is offering auto-braking on the 2013 Legacy and Outback; and Ford will offer lane departure warning on the 2013 Fusion.