With pedestrian injuries and deaths on the increase, government regulators are pushing automakers to improve hi-tech safety options such as pedestrian automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems available in new vehicles.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that AEB systems can significantly reduce pedestrian accidents, but only during the day or on well-lit roadways. Seventy-five percent of pedestrian-car accident fatalities occur at night.
According to a new study from IIHS, collision rates for pedestrian crashes of all severity were 27% lower in all light circumstances for vehicles equipped with pedestrian AEB than for unequipped vehicles. Crash injury rates were 30% lower.
“This is the first real-world study of pedestrian AEB to cover a broad range of manufacturers, and it proves the technology is eliminating crashes,” said the study’s author, IIHS vice president of research Jessica Cicchino. “Unfortunately, it also shows these systems are much less effective at night when three-quarters of fatal pedestrian crashes happen.”
AEB systems can prevent pedestrian injuries by alerting drivers when they are in danger of colliding with a pedestrian and activating the braking system if necessary to avoid or lessen a collision. Cicchino examined over 1,500 police-reported crashes involving a wide range of 2017-2020 model-year automobiles from several manufacturers to establish the extent of the technology’s impact.
She examined pedestrian crash rates for identical vehicles with and without pedestrian AEB, taking into account vehicle headlamp quality as well as driver age, gender, and other demographic characteristics. Finally, she looked at the technology’s influence in terms of crash severity, light condition, speed limit, and whether the vehicle was turning. When the researchers solely looked at pedestrian crashes that happened at night on routes without lamps, there was no difference in crash risk between vehicles with and without pedestrian AEB.
“AEB is an effective technology that is reducing pedestrian crashes. But like with any driver assistance technology, drivers still need to remain vigilant to the road when their vehicles are equipped with it,” Cicchino told Consumer Reports. “AEB may not detect pedestrians as well in the dark, at high speeds, or while turning.”
Experts say that the use of high-beam headlights as well as more recent innovations like thermal cameras may improve how well these systems function.
Recovering Losses from Pedestrian Injuries
Technological improvements and advanced safety features can help prevent pedestrian injuries, but the ultimate responsibility for safety most often rests with the operator of a vehicle. Careless driving behaviors are responsible for most car accident pedestrian injuries. An Orlando car accident attorney may be able to help you recover your losses and get you the compensation you deserve. Call 866-730-3508 for a free consultation with an attorney at the Martinez Manglardi personal injury law firm. Convenient locations throughout Central Florida.