IIHS Tests Safety Equipment With Pedestrian Avoidance Test

Reducing pedestrian crashes is the goal of the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ratings of automatic emergency braking systems that can detect and brake for people on foot. In the first tests of 2018–19 vehicles with this crash avoidance feature, 9 of 11 small SUVs evaluated earn an advanced or superior rating for pedestrian crash prevention. The ratings are in response to the recent rise in pedestrian deaths. In 2017, there was a 45% increase.

AutoWeek reports that out of all the vehicles tested, the 2018-19 Honda CR-V, 2019 Subaru Forester, 2019 Toyota RAV4 and 2019 Volvo XC40 responded the best to replications of an adult pedestrian entering the road from the right, a child darting into the street from behind two parked cars and an adult walking in the vehicle’s travel lane near the edge of the road. As for the worst performing vehicle, the BMW X1 did not meet any of the test parameters and was not rated.

Vehicles were scored according to their average speed reductions in five repeated test runs on dry pavement at speeds ranging from 12 mph to 37 mph. The Forester and RAV4 were the only vehicles to avoid hitting the dummies in every perpendicular test. IIHS gives credit in the 37 mph parallel adult test to systems that issue a timely warning (greater than or equal to 2.1 seconds time-to-collision), upping the odds of driver response.

The CR-V and Forester were the only crossovers to issue a warning in the parallel adult test before automatically braking to mitigate the impact with the dummy. The vehicles can detect and brake for pedestrians using a combination of automatic emergency braking systems, tiny cameras and radar sensors in the front grille that continuously scan the roadway and horizon for pedestrians, and in some cases bicyclists or animals, that might cross ahead.

The IIHS issued a study last year showing that the size of a vehicle plays a contributing role in pedestrian fatalities and urged automakers to improve front crash prevention systems, headlights and vehicle design.

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