Active safety systems are maturing. With pedestrian deaths on the rise, Subaru’s pedestrian detection and auto braking system may be arriving in the nick of time.
A study by the Highway Data Loss Institute (HDLI) and the Insurance Institue for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that Subaru’s EyeSight safety system cut the rate of likely pedestrian-related insurance claims by 35 %. This news comes as pedestrian deaths have risen 46% since 2009.
In the past, pricey European luxury cars earned a reputation for safety. Those brands still do an admirable job serving their small segment of the car market, but high volume brands like Toyota and Subaru have recently emerged as safety leaders, and the safety they build into their vehicles will appear in more driveways, and logic follows, save many more lives. Toyota was the first to make automatic emergency braking to prevent or reduce the severity of a forward collision standard across all trims of all its new vehicles. Subaru has also been pushing its advanced safety technology called EyeSight further down its already affordable line of crossovers and cars.
Forward collision prevention uses a variety of methods to detect an impending collision. The system then will alert a driver that there is a problem, and if the driver does not react, or if there isn’t time for the driver to react, the system will automatically apply up to full braking force to slow or stop the vehicle. These systems can react faster than a human can. They add to an attentive, skilled driver’s safety. They are not meant to be a substitute for good driving.
Two years ago, a study that closely followed Volvo models with and without automatic emergency braking proved that they can reduce crashes by as much as 40%. Those were the type of crash where one vehicle hits another from behind. Reducing these crashes is very important. The most costly injury overall from all types of motor vehicle mishaps is whiplash. Early forward crash prevention systems were limited to low speeds and limited in the type of impacts they could prevent.
Safety systems continue to evolve and one of the biggest advances is the ability of these systems to detect a pedestrian and prevent a vehicle from striking the pedestrian. After a steep decline over many decades, pedestrian deaths have started to increase in recent years. There are many factors to consider, but alcohol is a big one. Many pedestrians struck are legally drunk. Their actions are unexpected and drivers sometimes cannot react quickly enough to prevent a tragedy.
Automakers have been focusing on pedestrian detection and one of the affordable brands leading this area of safety is Subaru. A new study has now proven the efficacy of Subaru’s pedestrian detection and avoidance system is reducing the rate of likely pedestrian-related insurance claims by 35 percent. “The data clearly show that EyeSight is eliminating many crashes, including pedestrian crashes,” says HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore. HDLI is IIHS’ data analysis partner.
Since Subaru has relatively high vehicle sales for its Outback and Legacy, and since Subaru made the EyeSight safety system optional, HDLI and IIHS had a large population of identical vehicles to study, some with and some without EyeSight. There have also been two distinct generations of the EyeSight technology. Summing up its effectiveness, the group wrote, “HLDI also separated out first-generation and second-generation results for the Legacy, Outback, and Forester. The first-generation system reduced claim frequency 33 percent, while the second-generation system lowered it 41 percent.” Not only are these systems effective today, they are getting better as time goes on.