Starting next year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is ratcheting up the requirements that automakers must meet in order to earn Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ designations. Three areas are getting a tweak: headlights, crashworthiness ratings, and pedestrian crash prevention. Per the IIHS, the goal is to improve vehicle headlight systems and to fast-track the implementation of technology that can detect and avoid pedestrians. And keep in mind, the IIHS is a non-profit funded by insurers and insurance groups…makes sense that they would be heavily pushing this kind of argument, right?We can get behind the argument for better headlight systems. Quite frankly, some newer cars’ systems suck. We can get behind the stricter crash test score systems for the crashworthiness part as well. Our beef steps in with the pedestrian crash avoidance systems and this omnipresent need to make the car smarter than the meat bag operating it, or the meat bag who isn’t in the car.
When I was a young child, I was taught to “look both ways before crossing the street.” Simple enough: look left, look right, look left again, then when you were comfortable, you quickly crossed the road, keeping eyes open and ears alert. Seems so simple that it shouldn’t work, but for a five-year-old left to run feral around northern Colorado Springs, it seemed to work just fine. When I got into the Army, I learned an advanced variation of this system: “Yield To Tonnage”. This one is pretty simple too: if it outweighs you, get the f*** out of it’s way or prepare to suffer the consequences. That meant everything, from a HEMTT tanker with a trailer attached to an angry Sergeant Major’s wife…if it outweighed you, move your ass. Again, not that big of a deal, very effective, no need for computers, radar, LIDAR, cameras, or other associated
costs complexity bullshit systems. You just stepped out of the path of harm. When car and human meet, there is a fault: either the driver is at fault for not paying attention or maintaining control of the vehicle, or the pedestrian is at fault for not paying attention or being in an unsafe location that a vehicle would normally be traveling.
I don’t understand, for the life of me, how this is such a complicated thing. I don’t understand why the IIHS and even NHTSA are now looking into pedestrian avoidance systems. I don’t get why SEMA isn’t involved in ramping up efforts to strengthen licensing requirements and why they aren’t outright balking at these requirements. But maybe I’m a non-caring A-hole. I’ve been called worse. What do you think, readers? Should the car have a heart and stop automatically, and should manufacturers be rewarded for building vehicles that do?