For the 2019 model year, the Subaru Outback wagon and Legacy sedan include the automaker’s EyeSight crash-avoidance system as standard equipment. Subaru EyeSight had previously been an option on the Outback, Legacy and Forester, but the move means Subaru’s two most popular models — the Forester and Outback — will soon have it.
EyeSight Driver Assist Technology is the culmination of everything Subaru engineers know about safety. EyeSight monitors traffic movement and optimizes cruise control plus it warns you if you sway outside your lane. It does so with a set of dual color cameras unobtrusively placed near the rearview mirror The Pre-Collision Braking feature can even apply full braking force in emergency situations, helping you avoid frontal impacts. Subaru’s EyeSight technology has been found to be so effective that is reduces the rate of rear-end crashes with injuries by up to 85 percent.
Insurance Institute of Highway Safety
The virtues of the EyeSight system have been investigated by the The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS compared claims for bodily injury liability without a related claim for vehicle damage — typical of injuries to pedestrians or cyclists — between Subaru vehicles equipped with EyeSight and those without the feature. The overall difference amounted to 35 percent, with a slightly higher reduction for cars with second-generation EyeSight, which has a wider detection range thanks to upgraded cameras. Subaru phased in second-gen EyeSight during the 2015-17 model years; the first-gen system, which came in earlier model years for the Outback, Legacy and Subaru Forester, still showed a reduction in likely pedestrian claims too, though it wasn’t as high.
Wait could a bias be at work?
While the results seem definitive, couldn’t a self-selection bias exist? Consider, for example, that Subaru shoppers who choose EyeSight are buying pricier versions of their Outback or Legacy in the first place. They’re likely wealthier and more safety-conscious in the first place, and that could influence crash rates and insurance claims.
The IIHS weighs in
Russ Rader, a spokesman for IIHS, said there’s little evidence to support the notion. IIHS adjusted for various demographic and location factors that are known to sinfluence crash risk, but the agency says it has no evidence that any income level significantly alters results. “In an earlier study, we examined the issue of potential self-selection bias,” says Rader. “For example, are Volvos with crash-avoidance technology such as City Safety less likely to get into collisions than other luxury vehicles because people who buy Volvos might be safer drivers overall? We didn’t find that to be the case. When we compared Volvos with City Safety to other Volvos without it, we still found significant crash reductions similar to what we found when comparing Volvos to other luxury vehicle makes.
The System works!
Pedestrians — and drivers — need all the help they can get. IIHS noted separately that pedestrian deaths have spiked 46 percent since their low point in 2009, with most of the increase on urban and suburban arterials away from intersections. Fortunately crash avoidance systems such as the Subaru EyeSight system are playing a major role in keeping those statistics at bay.