Taking Crash-Avoidance Systems on a Personal Level
In 2018, three fewer pedestrians were hit and killed by motor vehicles on Colorado streets and roads than in 2017: 89, down from 92. You might want to take credit for that fact if you drive one of several sport utility vehicles praised recently by a national safety lab for their ability to detect people in the roadway and stop automatically.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently awarded Superior ratings for pedestrian crash prevention to:
- The 2018-2019 Honda CR-V
- The 2019 Subaru Forester (standard equipment)
- The 2019 Toyota RAV4 (standard equipment)
- The 2019 Volvo XC40 (standard equipment).
The automotive safety laboratory gave Advanced ratings to:
- The 2019 Chevrolet Equinox
- The 2018–19 Hyundai Kona
- The 2019 Kia Sportage
- The 2018–19 Mazda CX-5
- The 2019 Nissan Rogue (standard equipment).
It gave the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander a Basic rating.
The 2018-19 BMW X1 got no credit because it crashed with test dummies or slowed minimally in each of the safety lab’s practice tests.
It is the first year the safety lab, known for its Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus ratings, has issued ratings for pedestrian avoidance. More makes and models will be rated as the lab continues its testing program.
A Brake-Pumping, Heart-Pounding Moment
“Geesh! I almost killed that guy!”
All veteran drivers have experienced that adrenalin-fueled, jolting moment when they barely avoided hapless pedestrians who stepped into the road ahead of their moving cars.
You might thank your sharp reflexes or new brakes and tires for averting what could have been a life-changing or -ending disaster. But new crash-avoidance systems, keyed mainly for avoiding cars and other large road obstacles, can give you a greater technical advantage in avoiding even the smaller, walking obstacles on two or even four legs. Using sensors like radar, lidar, and cameras, the systems can detect what you’re missing and apply the brakes before you’re even aware of a pending threat.
IIHS, which promotes safer motor vehicles through its annual ratings, recently began the pedestrian-avoidance tests to reverse the upward trend in pedestrian accidents by maximizing the crash-avoidance systems.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics Climbing Upward
The number of men, women, and children killed annually by car strikes has increased by 45 percent since their recent low point in 2009, IIHS researchers found. Across the United States in 2017, crashes killed nearly 6,000 walkers, a 2 percent decline from 2016. That year marked the most pedestrian deaths since 1990.
Colorado’s annual pedestrian death rate has followed a steeper trajectory, more than doubling from 40 lives in 2010 to its 2018 level, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
One Avoidance System Paying Off
Numbers speak plainly. IIHS’ sister organization, the Highway Loss Data Institute, selected one manufacturer’s pedestrian-avoidance system to study the general effectiveness of using the technology in the real world. The researchers found that Subaru’s EyeSight system, which features pedestrian detection, cut the number of pedestrian-related insurance claims by 35 percent, compared with the same autos without the system.
IIHS predicted in 2011 that the systems could mitigate or prevent as much as 65 percent of accidents between vehicles and people on foot if all vehicles were equipped with them.
A Fourth Column of Safety Testing
Pedestrian autobrake testing has become IIHS’ fourth major testing category, following general front crash-prevention systems, headlights, and rear crash-prevention systems. In the new tests, researchers attempt to hit mannequins with vehicles traveling at various speeds. One test simulates a child running into the street from behind two parked cars. You can watch the video of the testing here.
David Aylor, an IIHS research manager, said:
“We want to encourage manufacturers to include pedestrian detection capabilities as they equip more of their vehicles with automatic emergency braking systems. We also want to arm consumers with information about these systems so they can make smart choices when shopping for a new vehicle.”