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IIHS HLDI study finds Subaru crash avoidance system cuts pedestrian crashes

A recent analysis by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) foundthat Subaru’s EyeSight system (earlier post) cut the rate of likely pedestrian-related insurance claims by a statistically significant 35%.

According to IIHS, 2016 data show pedestrian deaths account for 16% of all auto collision fatalities, and the numbers are on the rise—up 46% since reaching their lowest point in 2009. The increase, IIHS points out, has been mostly in urban and suburban areas where safe crossing locations might be scarce, including on busy roads designed to funnel vehicle traffic toward freeways, and mainly in the dark.

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Estimated change in BI-only claim frequency. Source: HLDI.

The data clearly show that EyeSight is eliminating many crashes, including pedestrian crashes.

—Matt Moore, HLDI Senior Vice President

Subaru’s EyeSight performs several functions, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lead vehicle start alert. It also includes pedestrian detection, enabling the system to brake automatically for pedestrians in addition to other vehicles.

The system relies on two cameras mounted to the interior roof behind the windshield, a set-up that leads to lower repair costs than other front crash prevention systems that rely on equipment embedded in the vehicle exterior.

To study the system’s effect on pedestrian crashes, analysts looked at bodily injury liability claims that lacked an associated claim for vehicle damage. Past HLDI investigations have found that such claims tend to represent injured pedestrians or cyclists.

They compared the rate of these claims per insured vehicle year for Subaru vehicles with EyeSight, compared with the rate for the same models without the optional system.

The first generation of EyeSight, which used black and white cameras, was available in the US on the 2013–14 Legacy and Outback and the 2014–16 Forester. The second generation, introduced on the Legacy and Outback in 2015 and on the Forester in 2017, uses color cameras and has longer and wider detection ranges and other improvements.

EyeSight was offered for the first time on the Crosstrek and the Impreza sedan and hatchback in 2015. Only the second-generation system was offered on these vehicles.

Today, all models except the BRZ are available with EyeSight.

Looking at the Legacy, Outback, Forester, Crosstrek and Impreza individually, HLDI found reductions in claim frequency for each of them, though only the results for the Legacy and Outback were statistically significant.

HLDI also separated out first-generation and second-generation results for the Legacy, Outback and Forester. The first-generation system reduced claim frequency 33%, while the second-generation system lowered it 41%.

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