This study determine s the current state of pedestrian protection in the U.S. vehicle fleet using established Euro NCAP pedestri an test procedures including lower legform and upper legform impacts to the front end of the
vehicle and headform impacts to the hood and windshield. Nine vehicles — passenger cars, a minivan, SUVs, and pickup trucks — were tested. The range of scores on U.S. vehicles varied greatly. In general, global vehicles (models that include a U.S. variant and a European variant of the same vehicle) offer more pedestrian safety than vehicles marketed primarily in the United States. This observation applies to all size classes for the vehicles
NHTSA tested. Tested global vehicles were markedly better. The lowest global vehicle score was higher than the highest non -global vehicle score. This was expected, as only the global vehicles are likely to contain the
hood underpinnings put in place specifically for pedestrian safety.
The second objective of this study was to assess the equivalency of pedestrian protection in U.S. versus European variants of the same vehicle model, so only global vehicles were assessed. When compared to Euro NCAP results, a clear degradation in performance was observed for legform tests on U.S. variants. Those differences may have been driven by NHTSA’s Part 581 bumper damageability demands on variants sold in the U.S. versus pedestrian safety demands on variants sold in Europe driven by Euro NCAP and UNECE Reg. No. 127, the pedestrian safety regulation in force in Europe. For “passenger cars” (sedans, coupes, hatchbacks) that must conform to Part 581 bumper damageability requirements, the U.S. variants performed much worse than European variants in the lower legform assessment, but no worse than (and perhaps slightly better than) non- global passenger cars.” In upper legform tests, the global “passenger cars” perform very well, with U.S. and European variants performing equally as well. Non -global vehicles did not perform well. The largest of them – the pickup and the large SUV – performed the worst of all vehicles.