About 14 percent of all road fatalities in Europe are pedestrians, with children and the elderly being overrepresented among the victims. Pedestrians comprise one of the main categories of vulnerable road users, which also include cyclists and motorcyclists. In Europe, the proportion of car occupants among road fatalities has decreased significantly over the last decade, while that of vulnerable road users has not shown a similar trend over the same period.
More pedestrian-friendly vehicle design would save the lives of many pedestrians and negate the emotional trauma encountered by many drivers every year as they live with the consequences of injuring or fatally wounding a pedestrian. With the inclusion of the pedestrian score into the overall rating, Euro NCAP aims to encourage further improvement of vehicle performance in this area.
To estimate the potential risk of injury in the event of a vehicle striking an adult or a child, Euro NCAP carries out tests to the most important vehicle front-end structures such as the bonnet and windshield, the bonnet leading edge and the bumper. The procedure promotes energy absorbing structures, deformation clearance and deployable protection systems such as pop-up bonnets and external airbags.
Euro NCAP released a separate star rating for pedestrian valid from 1997 to 2009. As of 2009, the pedestrian score has become an integral part of the overall rating scheme. To get a good overall rating, vehicles must achieve a good pedestrian protection score.