IIHS to Address Pedestrian Protection With New Ratings

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is the biggest name in crash test ratings for vehicles. You know those commercials with the crash test dummies? Those vehicles are referencing their IIHS ratings. 

As the go-to for vehicular crash test and safety systems ratings, the IIHS is now adding another component to its studies — preventing crashes involving pedestrians. The IIHS has done a first round of tests with small SUVs for how they prevent collisions with pedestrians and most have scored high.

“Reducing pedestrian crashes is the goal of new IIHS ratings of automatic emergency braking systems that can detect and brake for people on foot,” an IIHS Status Report says. “In the first tests of 2018-19 vehicles with this crash avoidance feature, 9 of 11 small SUVs evaluated earned an advanced or superior rating for pedestrian crash prevention.”

The 2019 Kia Sportage was one of the five vehicles to earn an advanced rating. 

IIHS says these new ratings have been implemented on the heels of renewed focus on crashes that involve pedestrians. The Status Report referenced an IIHS pedestrian death study saying, pedestrian deaths were at their lowest point in 2009 and have since risen 45 percent. There were 5,977 pedestrians killed in 2017, which is the highest number since 1990.

To avoid pedestrian crashes, IIHS says autobrake systems that detect pedestrians and brake for them are important. Pedestrian detection systems generally use a forward-facing camera mounted near the rearview mirror and radar sensors in the grille to continually scan the road ahead. These systems will typically send alerts to the driver when a crash is impending and apply the brakes. 

The new pedestrian autobrake test is now one of four crash avoidance evaluations the IIHS conducts for safety ratings. The other three are front crash prevention, headlights and rear crash prevention.

For more information on this study, and to see which other vehicles were rated, click here

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