Cars and trucks pose a serious hazard to pedestrian traffic. Recent efforts to help drivers and pedestrians avoid deadly interactions have fallen short. Pedestrian deaths are on the rise. Those waiting for a technological solution may have to wait a while longer.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems are one of the ways automakers are working to reduce pedestrian fatalities. AEB technology is supposed to take over when a driver fails to see a pedestrian in time. Recent testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests many of these systems have a long way to go to fulfill their potential.
The IIHS testing covered a range of midsize cars, SUVs and smaller trucks. In total, 23 models were tested to see if the AEB systems were good enough to earn IIHS’s superior safety rating.
In the end, only four of the 23 achieved the top score. The remaining vehicles ranged in performance from mediocre to poor. The findings showed that AEB technology works fine, as long as it’s light out. In the dark, when drivers need the help, the systems are less than stellar.
Pedestrian fatalities have risen significantly over the past decade. From 2009 to 2021, they rose almost 80%. And 2022 is off to a poor start as well, showing another spike in pedestrian deaths. At this point, these accidents make up roughly one in five fatal traffic incidents.
Unsurprisingly, most pedestrian fatalities happen at night. Around three-quarters of these crashes occur when it’s dark outside. That makes the failure of AEB systems during these hours particularly troubling. IIHS data suggests that AEB systems cut pedestrian deaths by more than a quarter total, but had no impact in the dark on unlit roads.
The good news is that some automakers seemed to have cracked the code. Since four of the 23 vehicles did earn top marks, it is a matter of investment rather than innovation when it comes to safety.
The systems equipped on the Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Camry, Toyota Highlander, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E earned a superior rating in the nighttime tests. The Nissan avoided any collision during testing. The other three vehicles either avoided the collision or slowed considerably to reduce the impact of the collision.
Pedestrian accidents often involve serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured by a motor vehicle, you need legal help right away. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney, call Ted B. Lyon & Associates at 800-TedLyon or send us a message.