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Unhinged: Now The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Is Saying That They Don’t Trust You To Hit The Brakes


Unhinged: Now The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Is Saying That They Don’t Trust You To Hit The Brakes

How important are you behind the wheel? As the human being in control of the two-ton mass of metal, plastic, glass and gas, how in control do you feel? How in control should you be? Should you be in control at all? In the last couple of years, many different groups have made it clear that they simply don’t think that humans should be able to drive and those same groups are busy trying to prove that if you remove the human out of the equation, that magically we are going to find this utopia of no crashes, no deaths, and a happier life for all. To yours truly, it sounds like someone is making a sandwich, is spreading something that I’m pretty sure isn’t Nutella, and they are preparing the average everyday automobile user to take one great big bite.

Here’s what has me pissed off today. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), the non-profit that is funded by the insurance companies, is currently taking aim with pedestrian avoidance systems. These are the combinations of cameras, forward-facing radar, and automatic braking systems and other systems functions in a vehicle that help keep you from hitting someone in the middle of the road. It’s hot on the heels of the front overlap crash tests and headlight evaluations for the IIHS, and is slated to be incorporated into their awards systems that manufacturers use to brag in advertisements about. The tests carried out three different scenarios: an adult at a crosswalk, a child darting out from between cars, and an adult walking down the travel lane with their back turned to traffic. The vehicles tested were a mix of small SUVs from the market. The Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 performed the best, while the BMW X1 didn’t give a single, solid bit of thought to the fleshbags in it’s way and ran over every last dummy with impudence and prejudice. I almost like the way the car was “thinking”: they were in the wrong, so screw ’em, out of the gene pool.

What gets me is that the IIHS is treating pedestrian avoidance systems like an established technology and worse, as some kind of vital necessity. All I see is the normalization of two faults of society: the piss-poor level of driver training that the United States refuses to do anything about, and the removal of the responsibility of individuals for taking care of their own safety. If someone gets hit at a crosswalk, it’s actually pretty straightforward to determine who was at fault. Were the pedestrians crossing an appropriate location in the correct manner? Then it’s the driver’s fault. If not, it was the pedestrians. Was the person walking in the lane doing so because there was nowhere else to walk? In fact, why were they walking with their back to traffic anyways, that goes against common sense! As far as the kid-between-cars bit, whatever happened to:
(A) teaching your kid that to a moving vehicle, they have the structural integrity of a day-old Jello dessert and that they will hurt like they’ve never known before if they go into the street, and
(B) You as the adult monitoring what your kid does if they are too young or stupid to follow rule A?

Why is it now the responsibility of the automobile to be the savior? Why are we trusting two cameras, a radar system and the black box that is in charge of hitting the brakes¬†FOR YOU, THE DRIVER to make the right decision moments before bumper meets body? I’d love to hear the IIHS take on that question instead of giving engineers who are bored and tired of hearing from the lawyers of people who managed to get a tread-pattern body stripe due to their own negligence something to do. The overlap crash was a good idea. Headlight ratings are a good idea. Letting the car decide if it’ll stop or run over Jamie Jaywalker? Not so much.


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8 thoughts on “Unhinged: Now The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Is Saying That They Don’t Trust You To Hit The Brakes

  1. phitter67

    When I worked at Guide Lamp we had people not getting the wiring harness in the right place on the rear of the lamp. So some engineer wanted a camera to check this during the lamp test. But guess what? A black harness cannot be seen on a black housing, so the computer could not flag the part as defective. How about a person wearing black in the shadows? Or at night ? Or the rain? Or the programmer makes a mistake and no one catches it? (And don’t tell me THAT never happens)

  2. CRAZY

    The RMV states, in all 50 states YOU are to be in complete control of the vehicle at all time.
    Someone needs to sue the The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) for forcing all this nanny crap.

    We rented while wifes truck was in the shop a new car with the nanny automatic braking. and the vehicle in front of us, throwing snow up and at the vehicle set off the automatic breaking that because of the snow/slush/ice on the roads almost put is in the ditch. as I was not expecting it to decide to slam on the brakes.

    take all this crap out and teach drivers how to drive, if you can’t drive without the nanny crap. take their lic to drive away until they can.

  3. Nitromike66

    This is exactly why the average automobile costs more than the yearly average wage. All of this ridiculous automated crap that the insurance industry lobbies the government to make mandatory is going to make it impossible for anyone to afford to drive. That’s okay, I’ll just keep driving my ’55 Chevy.

  4. Gary Smrtic

    We allowed the insurance companies to mandate seat belts, crash bumpers, airbags, more interlocks and goddamn buzzers than I can name, and we should be surprised by this? We re-elect the same people who are in the insurance companies’ pockets election cycle after election cycle simply because of name familiarity or insane party loyalty. We deserve what we get.

  5. bob

    This is great news. Now I can run over somebody and sue the auto maker because the car didn’t avoid the accident.

  6. Bobby J

    I read where to replace a windshield equipped with sensors will cost about $1600. Also, special alignment machines will be require to adjust all the sensors in the front of the car.
    Glad I lived when I did.

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