Reston, VA

By Personal Injury Attorney Gary Christmas of Christmas Injury Lawyers

Each year, approximately 6,000 pedestrian lives are lost to traffic accidents.

These deaths account for 16% of all traffic deaths, and the majority of these accidents happen after dark when visibility is low. Sadly, the number of pedestrian deaths is on the rise.

As a result, automakers have attempted to combat the issue of pedestrian-related crashes by introducing new safety technology, such as an automatic emergency braking system that engages when a sensor detects a pedestrian in front of the car. In theory, this emergency braking system could be extremely helpful for keeping people safe on the road.

Drivers are ultimately responsible for the safe driving of their vehicles, no matter how advanced their safety technology is. Although these safety systems have the potential to significantly reduce vehicle crashes when properly functioning, this technology is only meant to enhance the driver’s awareness, not to take the driver’s place.

Even if a vehicle is equipped with advanced technology to assist a driver in navigating in a safer manner, this technology can never be relied on to take the place of the driver, and ultimately, a driver who causes a traffic accident despite the use of this safety technology is liable and responsible for the damage they have caused.

Unfortunately, according to tests done by AAA, this technology has a long way to go before it is effective. AAA challenged this technology in simulated real-world scenarios and found that this technology was largely ineffective. These tests revealed that the sensors had the highest success rate while the vehicle was traveling slowly at 20 miles per hour during daylight, avoiding collision approximately 40% of the time.

However, when the vehicle speed was increased to 30 miles per hour in the same scenario, the majority of detection systems failed to detect the pedestrian and was unable to avoid the collision.

Additionally, the safety system failed to detect pedestrians during nighttime simulations, illustrating that this technology requires further testing and work to become more effective before it can be relied on to aid drivers in identifying and avoiding pedestrians.

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