Improving safety on Florida roadways is a goal for automakers, legislators and law enforcement officials. Since auto accidents are such a common cause for injuries and fatalities, various strategies are undertaken to avoid these collisions and the accompanying catastrophic injuries. Notably at risk are pedestrians. When a pedestrian is hit by a motor vehicle, they are naturally vulnerable. With the rise in distracted driving, this has gotten steadily worse.
Automakers have tried to improve their vehicles with safety features that protect drivers, passengers and others on the road. However, many of these features have yet to be perfected. This could be an important point when thinking about a legal filing after an auto accident. A recent study from AAA shows that vehicles with systems installed to detect pedestrians still have issues to work out. At night, the systems do not work at all. This can sabotage the entire idea, as three-quarters of all pedestrian fatalities happen at night.
The researchers analyzed four vehicles from different manufacturers. All had the pedestrian detection systems installed. These systems are meant to identify when there is a pedestrian in front of the vehicle and take steps to avoid an accident when the drivers do not stop the vehicle on their own. Using props to serve as pedestrians, the best result was a 40% success rate if the vehicle was going 20 miles per hour and the person stood right in front of the vehicle. If the vehicle was going 30 miles per hour, it did not prevent a crash.
Situations in which children ran out between parked vehicles and in front of a moving vehicle with the detection system were tested and there was an accident in 89% of the tests. When vehicles made a right turn and there was a pedestrian crossing, it never avoided an accident. For circumstances in which there were pedestrians with their backs to the vehicle and they walked on the side of the road, a vehicle traveling 20 miles per hour had a crash in 80% of the tests.
Because there are so many pedestrian fatalities on an annual basis – around 6,000, or about 16% of the total number of traffic fatalities – this is an important step to improve safety. Unfortunately, it is still being worked on. For people who have been injured or who have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, the medical expenses, lost income, funeral costs and other factors can be personally and financially costly. It is important to understand legal options after car accidents.