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Crash prevention technologies to get safety ratings in US and Europe

Tristan Honeywill

New tests for crash prevention technologies by Euro NCAP and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the US will make it easier for consumers to understand which work best. The rating schemes will focus at first on frontal crashes, helping buyers to pick the best car and the right options. They should also encourage carmakers to make the technologies either cheaper or standard fit.

Subaru crash avoidance systemIt’s going to be interesting to find out which system works best. At the moment it’s often hard to work out which manufacturers offer the technologies – and with them all having different brand names and speed ranges, the need for clear information is important.

Euro NCAP’s head, Michiel van Ratingen, said: “Systems that help drivers avoid crashes are available and are becoming commonplace. Euro NCAP will help consumers differentiate the good systems from the bad ones.”

Testing is underway at Euro NCAP with the first results due at the end of October. The tests focus on systems that warn drivers of a frontal collision and systems that brake automatically to prevent or reduce the impact. Euro NCAP will assess low-speed (‘City’) and higher speed (‘Inter-Urban’) systems to see how well they work.

The IIHS has published the first round of results for models available in the US, but European consumers are best to refer to Euro NCAP on this. The tests that the two safety organisations are conducting are basically the same. Cars are driven at models of cars that can be hit without risking injury to the test-drivers. To cameras and radar, the models are just like the real thing.

The main difference between the US and the European tests is that Euro NCAP will be checking the systems across a greater range of speeds. The US tests at 20kmh and 40kmh. Euro NCAP is testing City systems at 10,20,30,40 and 50kmh (6-30mph) and Interurban systems at 30,40,50,60, 70 and 80kmh (18-50mph). They do it this way to determine each system’s upper limits.

IIHS says that Subaru’s EyeSight system has performed best so far. In the US tests, it helped the Subaru Legacy and Outback avoid hitting the target at both test speeds. Unfortunately, Subaru doesn’t offer the technology at all on European models at present.

So which is the best crash prevention system on sale in Europe? We’re going to have to wait a few weeks to find out. Sign up to our newsletter or like us on Facebook to get the results as soon as they are out.

“Systems that help drivers avoid crashes are available and becoming commonplace. Euro NCAP will help consumers differentiate the good systems from the bad ones.”

Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP’s head

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