The IIHS currently tests systems at a speed of 25 mph (40 km/h)
Accident data shows that most rear-ending collisions happen at higher speeds
The IIHS wants to increase testing speeds up to 35 or 45 mph (56 – 72 km/h)
The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) performs all sorts of tests to increase the safety of vehicles sold in the United States every year, one of which involves the automatic emergency braking systems now fitted to most vehicles.
This test uses a simulated vehicle and mannequins to determine if each manufacturer’s system is capable of identifying collision risks and stopping the vehicle on its own before the accident occurs.
Currently, the IIHS runs these tests at 12 mph (20 km/h) to simulate driving in a parking lot and then at 25 mph (40 km/h) to simulate driving in the city.
Now that a few years have passed since the introduction of the first automatic emergency braking systems, these tests are becoming too easy.
Indeed, according to the institute, 85% of the vehicles tested for the 2022 model year have received a Superior rating, which is the highest grade a system can receive.
This means that the test will have to be reworked in order to become more relevant. Since the IIHS says that police reports indicate only 3% of all of the collisions where a vehicle hit another one from behind happened at such low speeds, the obvious solution seems to increase the speed of the test.
The institute is apparently looking at performing the same test at speeds between 35 and 45 mph (56 and 72 km/h). If performed at the faster speed of the two, the test would become relevant to 43% of those types of crashes.
Obviously, faster speeds mean less time to react, both for drivers and their vehicle’s active safety systems, so it should not be surprising to see many vehicles fail this test if the institute goes ahead with the proposed changes.