Published on March 8th 2019 in

IIHS pedestrian protection added to Top Safety Pick

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) will add pedestrian autobraking to its Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ ratings next year. The technology is another ADAS element to potentially restore and recalibrate, though it’s likely that at least some of the sensory equipment will be part of systems or suites already on vehicles.

IIHS will require pedestrian detection to be standard to earn the highest Top Safety Pick+ honour and optional to earn the second-place Top Safety Pick rank. “In general, pedestrian detection systems use a forward-facing mono camera or stereo cameras mounted near the rear-view mirror plus radar sensors in the vehicle’s front grille to continuously scan the roadway and horizon for pedestrians and, in some cases, cyclists or animals,” according to the IIHS.

“Algorithms classify the objects as people, cyclists or animals, predict their travel path and determine the vehicle’s speed in relation to them. If a collision is imminent, the system typically alerts the driver and can apply the brakes far faster than a human can react.”

Collision repairers should pay special attention to this technology because it represents a significant shift in responsibility and potential liability. Your work has expanded from systems first intended to protect the customer paying you and their vehicle’s occupants to technology meant to protect someone else you don’t even know.

Sure, the driver of the vehicle still will carry the responsibility for driving safely and the bulk of the blame for a pedestrian-vehicle crash deemed the vehicle’s fault. But the victim or even the vehicle’s driver, could potentially sue a shop for disrupting a system which would have prevented the collision. Even if none of them make the connection, an insurer seeking to subrogate just might.

“Approximately two-thirds of front crash prevention systems offered on 2019 models in the US have pedestrian detection capabilities,” said IIHS. “Many of these can also detect and react to cyclists and, in some cases, animals, although IIHS didn’t assess these capabilities.”

Two of the tests involve the vehicle traveling 12 mph and 25 mph and encountering an adult or child dummy walking perpendicular to the car. An adult pedestrian traveling perpendicular to the car from the right side of the road is the most common kind of crash in the real world. The child test simulates a kid emerging from behind two parked vehicles and is the most difficult test, according to the IIHS.

The last test occurs at 25 mph and 37 mph and involves avoiding hitting a pedestrian walking parallel to the vehicle in the travel lane at the edge of the road, their back to the traffic behind them in the lane. The IIHS also gives credit to vehicles that can issue a warning to the driver at least 2.1 seconds before the parallel-adult 37 mph crash.

Pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise over the past decade, with 2018 projected to have had the highest amount of deaths since 1990, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. If you’re like us and you automatically thought of blaming smartphone use by drivers and pedestrians (the iPhone came out in 2007), the GHSA pointed out that this was just one of many potential contributing factors, including more SUVs on roads (more likely to kill a pedestrian than a car) and even more people walking to work.

This article courtesy of John Huetter of Repairer Driven Education (RDE). Check out their website at; for this and many other informative and educational articles on the collision repair industry.

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