The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety is rolling out a new crash test. However, it’s not the usual test for vehicle collisions. Instead, it measures how effective active safety systems are at preventing accidents with pedestrians. Here’s what you need to know about these new tests, what you should look for when shopping for a vehicle, and ways you can prevent pedestrian crashes.
A Growing Problem
Pedestrian deaths increased 27% between 2007 and 2018, despite other traffic deaths decreasing 14% over the same period. Florida has the highest accident rate per capita, while Wisconsin has the 5th lowest rate of pedestrian casualties.
Although research into the causes of this spike in accidents is only preliminary, researchers believe two factors may mainly be to blame for this increase:
– Increased distracted driving related to phone use
– A switch from cars to crossovers and SUVs
Put these two factors together, and you have drivers who have reduced reaction time coupled with heavier vehicles that do more damage. However, there are more factors at play that increase the chance of a pedestrian accident:
– Most accidents happen between 6-9 pm. Accident rates are higher in urban areas, away from intersections and at night.
– 48% of deaths involved alcohol
– 33% involved a pedestrian with a BAC of 0.08 grams per deciliter, the legal limit for intoxication.
– 13% involved a driver with a BAC of 0.08 g/dL.
– Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. 20% of victims are 65 or older, and 20% are 15 or younger.
How do Crash Avoidance Systems Prevent Pedestrian Accidents?
Car-sensing active safety systems are already common on cars, but this new push will bring better pedestrian detection. Using cameras and radar, the safety system can detect objects and their speed. It then estimates whether the object will be in the path of the vehicle. From there, the system will warn the driver and may apply the brakes preemptively if a crash is imminent. These systems aren’t foolproof, and the vehicle won’t always be able to brake in time. However, any reduction in speed greatly reduces the chance and severity of injuries.
The New Pedestrian Safety Rating
The IIHS is an insurance-backed research agency that helps companies determine liability. That means this new safety standard won’t be legally required, but it gives car buyers a way to compare new systems and their relative safety.
The new safety rating is based on 6 tests:
– A child walking between parked cars while the vehicle is moving at 12 and 25 mph
– An adult walking between parked cars while the vehicle is moving at 12 and 25 mph
– An adult walking along the right side of the road near the curb while the vehicle is moving at 25 and 37 mph
Vehicles earn points based on the average speed reduction over 5 runs of each test. The vehicle also earns a point if it warns the driver at least 2.1 seconds before impact in the 37 mph parallel adult test.
The new test becomes official for the 2020 model year, but IIHS has already tested some small crossovers. Here’s how they performed:
Superior – Score of 5 or more
2018 and 201919 Honda CR-V
2019 Subaru Forester
2019 Toyota RAV4
2019 Volvo XC40
Advanced – Score of 4 or 5
2019 Chevrolet Equinox
2018 and 2019 Hyundai Kona
2019 Kia Sportage
2018 and 2019 Mazda CX-5
2019 Nissan Rogue
Basic – Score of 1 to 3
2019 Mitsubishi Outlander
No Credit – No score
2018 and 2019 BMW X1
In all cases, these vehicles are equipped with the best safety systems available. Choose an option package that leaves out safety features, and you won’t see the same performance.
Getting a low rating doesn’t mean a vehicle is poorly designed. These tests are new, and it takes car companies time to develop cars that can get a high safety score. However, most auto manufacturers already include some form of pedestrian detection in their vehicles.
How Can I Decrease the Chance of a Pedestrian Collision?
When you’re walking:
– If you’re drinking, get a ride or call a cab. Driving while intoxicated is a terrible idea, but trying to walk home isn’t a great idea, either.
– Cross at intersections, even if you have to walk out of your way to get to one.
– Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight if you have to walk in the dark.
– If there’s no sidewalk, walk next to the curb facing traffic.
When you’re driving:
– Don’t drink and drive.
– Don’t use your phone while driving
– Take it slow when driving around schools, medical facilities and senior citizen centers.
– Be on the lookout for pedestrians in the evening and when schools are starting or ending their day.
When Accidents Happen, Get It Fixed Right the First Time
Merton Auto Body has helped people in Lake Country with collision repairs for over 70 years. We have the latest tools and training to work on today’s complex vehicles, and we’re a preferred auto body shop for most major insurance companies. We’re located in Sussex, just a short drive from Pewaukee, Lisbon and North Lake.