Vehicle detection systems for driving safety might be ineffective

While there are many dangers on the road in Indiana and across the nation, carmakers are avidly seeking methods to improve driving safety for drivers and those who share the road with them. That includes pedestrians and others who are not in a passenger vehicle. Features such as warnings and automatic braking are increasingly being added to new vehicles. This is viewed as an advancement, but like most advancements when they are in their infancy, it takes some time to perfect. People who have suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident should understand recent research into these innovations.

According to AAA, detection systems created to avoid pedestrian accidents do not perform well in many circumstances and are totally useless at night. With these advancements, there is a camera that is designed to identify when there is a pedestrian in front of the vehicle. If the driver does not stop, the vehicle will initiate its brakes. With the number of pedestrian deaths nearly 6,000 for 2017, this is a necessary option to improve driving safety. Still, it is not working as well as it needs to for there to be a dramatic improvement.

Four 2019 vehicles with the systems installed were tested. The researchers utilized dummies to replicate humans. Using various tests including adults crossing with the vehicle traveling between 20 and 30 mph during the day and night; children running out between parked cars and the vehicles traveling 20 to 30 mph; vehicles turning right when a person was crossing; and two adults with their backs to the vehicle moving at 20 to 30 mph, the results were largely poor. For example, when the adult stood in front of a vehicle that was going 20 mph, the collision was avoided in 40% of the tests. It was far worse in the other scenarios. The right-hand turn tests did not stop any collisions.

For drivers and pedestrians who believe technological advancements will improve driving safety and allow them to multitask or not pay as close attention to driving as they ordinarily would, these tests should serve as a wakeup call. When there is a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian, the pedestrian will inevitably get the worst of it with severe injuries, hospitalizations, lost wages and even death.

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