To earn the highest safety honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it’s no longer good enough for vehicles to protect people inside the vehicle.
They must also protect people outside the vehicle.
For the first time, IIHS is requiring automakers to offer pedestrian-detecting automatic emergency braking systems to receive the group’s 2020 Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick honors.
Automakers covet the IIHS awards, which they often trumpet in their marketing because many car buyers give extra consideration to those vehicles.
IIHS President David Harkey said the organization decided to require the pedestrian crash prevention technology on its top award, Top Safety Pick+, because of the nation’s pedestrian safety crisis.
“That was really important because of the spike we’ve seen in pedestrian fatalities over the past decade,” he said.
Nearly 6,300 pedestrians died in crashes in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That was a 28-year high, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
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IIHS said 23 vehicles won the Top Safety Pick+ for 2020, while another 41 won the Top Safety Pick.
Hyundai Motor Group, which includes the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands, had the most winners overall with 14.
Mazda had the most Top Safety Pick+ winners of any automaker with five vehicles on the list, including the Mazda CX-3 SUV. Subaru was second with four vehicles on the list, including the Subaru Forester SUV. Others making the list included the Tesla Model 3, the Hyundai Nexo and the Lexus ES, which was named by J.D. Power on Wednesday as the most dependable vehicle of 2020. (Scroll down to see the full list.)
Fiat Chrysler and Mitsubishi were shut out altogether.
Notably absent on either list this year were minivans and pickups. Automakers didn’t nominate any of them for the awards due to the vehicles’ lack of automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, Harkey said.
IIHS noted that vehicles can qualify for the honors later in the year if the automakers make mid-year upgrades.
Other key attributes required to make the two lists include:
• “Good” or “acceptable” headlights. If they’re standard, that’s enough to achieve a Top Safety Pick+. If they’re optional, that’s enough to achieve a Top Safety Pick. Poor headlight performance has been a significant concern among automotive safety advocates in recent years.
• A “good” rating on all six crash assessments, including a passenger-side crash test that assesses the safety of passengers when there’s a small overlap between cars involved in the collision. This is the first year a “good” rating on this test has been required to make both lists.
2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winners
Small cars: Honda Insight, Mazda 3 hatchback, Mazda 3 sedan, Subaru Crosstrek hybrid
Midsize cars: Mazda 6, Nissan Maxima, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback (built after October 2019), Toyota Camry
Midsize luxury cars: Lexus ES, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Tesla Model 3
Large luxury cars: Audi A6, Genesis G70 (built after December 2019), Genesis G80
Small SUVs: Mazda CX-3, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester
Midsize luxury SUVs: Acura RDX, Cadillac XT6 (built after October 2019), Hyundai Nexo, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (built after July 2019)
2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick winners
Small cars: Honda Civic coupe, Civic hatchback, Civic sedan, Hyundai Elantra, Elantra GT, Hyundai Veloster, Kia Forte, Kia Soul, Subaru Crosstrek, Subaru Impreza sedan, Impreza wagon, Subaru WRX, Toyota Corolla sedan, Corolla hatchback
Midsize cars: Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan ALtima
Midsize luxury cars: BMW 3 series, Volvo S60
Large car: Kia Stinger
Large luxury car: Audi A7
Small SUVs: Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Tuscon, Kia Sportage, Lexus UX, Lincoln Corsair, Toyota RAV4, Volvo XC40
Midsize SUVs: Ford Edge, Hyundai Palisade, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Kia Telluride, Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent, Volkswagen Tiguan
Midsize luxury SUV: Lexus RX
Large SUV: Audi Q8
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.