AAA: Pedestrian Detection Systems Unreliable

Recent years have brought many technological advances when it comes to safety detection systems in vehicles. These systems can tell you if you are in danger of backing into an object, if you are too close to the car in front of you, if you are not staying in your lane, and can even brake for you if a collision is imminent. Among the newest technological safety advances with which vehicles can be equipped are pedestrian detection systems, but are they reliable?

According to studies performed by the American Automobile Association (AAA)s, they are not.  In a study conducted by the organization, pedestrian detection systems were inconsistent in their performance, especially at night. With 75 percent of pedestrian accidents occurring at night, it seems as if these systems work poorly when they are needed most. If you were injured in a pedestrian or car crash, your next step should be to contact a skilled Redding car accident attorney.

Pedestrian Safety Concerns

Pedestrian safety is one traffic issue that automakers are attempting to tackle with their automatic braking pedestrian detection system. AAA reports that, since 2010, pedestrian traffic deaths have been on the rise. On average, 6,000 people lose their lives annually in pedestrian accidents, accounting for 16 percent of all traffic accident deaths. These statistics leave no doubt that pedestrian safety needs to be addressed and that technology could play a significant role in doing so.

Speed and Time of Day Impact the Efficacy of Pedestrian Detection Systems

In conjunction with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA studied the performance of four midsize sedans equipped with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Testing was conducted on a closed course using simulated pedestrian targets under the following conditions:

  • An adult in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph and 30 mph during the day and at 25 mph at night
  • A child darting out from the middle of two parked cars in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph and 30 mph in which collisions occurred 89 percent of the time
  • A vehicle turning right onto an adjacent road with an adult crossing simultaneously causes a crash 100 percent of the time
  • Collisions occurred 80 percent of the time when two adults stood along the side of the road with their backs to traffic, with a vehicle moving in their direction at 20 mph and 30 mph

The systems worked best in daylight when an adult crossed in front of a vehicle that was driving 20 mph. Even then, they only helped avoid a collision 40 percent of the time. At 30 mph, most systems did not work, and a collision occurred between the fake pedestrian and the vehicle. Of note, none of the systems detected or reacted to an adult pedestrian at night, and in general, all systems were ineffective when the vehicle was traveling 30 mph.

Moving Forward

All drivers whose vehicles are equipped with these types of systems should be aware of their shortcomings. AAA says that their goal is to help automakers close the gaps in these systems to make them more effective and improve their functionality. Currently, the systems that detect other vehicles are much more reliable. Until the pedestrian detection braking system advance, AAA recommends these tips to drivers:

  • Be aware of their surroundings and not rely on pedestrian detection systems to prevent an accident
  • Remember that this technology should only serve as a backup and they are still required to be engaged drivers
  • Read the owner’s manual to know what safety systems the car comes with
  • Ask their car dealer to explain how these systems work, including what the safety system alerts sound and look like and what will activate them
  • Use an abundance of caution when driving in the dark since this is the most hazardous time for pedestrians and where the pedestrian braking systems failed the most

Pedestrians still need to be cautious around roadways and use crosswalks whenever they can. Obeying traffic signals, avoiding walking and texting, and looking both ways before crossing the street can help prevent accidents as well.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Redding Car Accident Lawyer

A car accident lawyer in Redding is waiting to speak with you if you were recently the victim of a pedestrian accident. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today to get your case started. Call Maire & Deedon at 530-246-6050, or use our confidential online contact form.