Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to test pedestrian protection •

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Next year, we will know which vehicles are best for not killing pedestrians.

The Insurance Institute for Road Safety (IIHS) has Introduced notes that measure pedestrian protection. according to News from the automobileis "in response to the increase in fatal accidents involving pedestrians.In 2017, 5 977 pedestrians died, an increase of 45% from the low point of 2009, according to US Department of Transportation data."

They do not measure physical factors, such as the shape of the front ends of cars, as they do in Europe, but new electronic technologies that detect and brake pedestrians, and claim that it would make a big difference by reducing or preventing 65% accidents. and 58% of pedestrian deaths.

This is done with a combination of automatic braking systems, tiny cameras and "radar sensors in the grille that continuously sweep the pavement and horizon for pedestrians and, in some cases, cyclists or animals, that could cross in front. "

"We want to encourage automakers to include pedestrian detection capabilities, as they equip more of their vehicles with automatic emergency braking systems," said David Aylor, who is responsible for the company's active safety testing. Institute, in a statement accompanying an assessment of 11 cross filters with pedestrian protection. systems. "We also want to provide consumers with information on these systems so that they can make wise choices when they buy a new vehicle."

Alas, none of this becomes mandatory on all vehicles. But the IIHS is funded by the insurance industry and its ratings definitely have an impact on the cost of insurance. This is not a cheap technology either; On the Subaru Impreza, where the vision system is an option, it costs $ 2,300 (although this is not limited to pedestrian protection). However, it is one of Subaru's most expensive cars and will probably be so soon.

The IIHS tested 11 small cars, with Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Volvo XC40 in the lead and a BMW X1 at the bottom.

pedestrian tests© IIHS

There are different tests and different speeds, as high as 37MPH.

"The test with the infant manikin is the most difficult," said David Aylor, head of active safety testing at IIHS. "The manikin is hidden by a car and an SUV parked on the right side of the road when the test vehicle is approaching, so there is no clear line of sight for the cameras. – or the driver – until the manikin appears on the passage of the vehicle. "

Of course, the government will never make this mandatory because manufacturers would complain that buyers can not afford it, just as they did with the fuel economy standards. And I suspect the industry will be fighting truck and SUV security ratings because they have a lot of inertia, saying that pickup trucks and SUVs are work vehicles, not the same as cars, unlike other security standards. That's the physics; The braking distance is proportional to the kinetic energy, a function of mass and speed. Trucks should be able to go back in time when testing the small child.

DenaliCamera rating under the M on the Denali / Lloyd Alter /CC BY 2.0

But we can hope that the IIHS will test all the vehicles in circulation and adjust their insurance rates accordingly. Because we should demand that they make vans and SUVs as safe as cars, or get rid of them.

Next year, we will know which vehicles are best for not killing pedestrians.