Pedestrian Detection Systems

Pedestrian Casualties are Higher than Ever Before

Approximately 6,000 pedestrians per year are killed by moving vehicles. Thousands of others are severely injured. More pedestrians were killed on American roads in 2018 than at any time within the past 30 years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), highway fatalities dropped nearly two and a half percent in 2018. Still, they reported pedestrian deaths increased by almost three and a half percent. Alarmingly, the 6283 reported pedestrian deaths in 2018 represent a 53% increase from 2009.

To reduce the number of pedestrian casualties, some automakers are testing, releasing, and working on improving pedestrian detection systems. Approximately two-thirds of vehicles evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are equipped with pedestrian detection. Many of those models include the system as standard equipment. In the last round of IIHS testing, twelve of the sixteen mid-sized sedans included had pedestrian detection systems installed as standard equipment.

Pedestrian Detection Systems

The features of each manufacturer’s pedestrian detection systems vary. They often include several sensors, including cameras, to visualize objects near the vehicle. Pedestrian detection systems are supposed to respond to an object in the vehicle’s path faster than a human driver could. 

You may have seen the recent Honda commercial below that leads the viewer to believe a man is hit by a car and is being mourned by friends and family. However, in the last frames of the ad, it is revealed that the vehicle driver stopped in time, presumably with some assistance from the car’s technology. The commercial sends an emotional message and tugs at the viewer’s heartstrings, but how well do the systems actually work?

Pedestrian Detection Systems Are Not Perfect

One particularly challenging scenario IIHS pedestrian detection system testing revealed is a child darting out from behind a parked car. How the vehicles handled that situation separated the top-performing class from the rest. AAA also tested the systems in the latter half of 2019 and found that 89% of the vehicles failed the “child darting out” test at 20 mph, and none of the cars passed the test at 30 mph. The AAA study also revealed that darkness and decreased visibility negatively affected the performance of the systems.

Suppose you read the small print during the Honda commercial above. In that case, the “Collision Mitigation Braking System” or CMBS is designed to mitigate collision forces, not prevent collision in the first place. Honda points out that the driver remains ultimately responsible for safely operating the vehicle and avoiding collisions. Until the computer systems are perfected, drivers and pedestrians should continue relying on their common sense and human awareness.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

  • Pay attention when crossing the street – look up from your phone!
  • Even if the traffic light is green, stop and look both ways before entering the intersection.
  • Ensure that an approaching driver has seen you – make eye contact if possible – before crossing.
  • Stay on the sidewalk.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially in the darkness.

North Highlands Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a North Highlands personal injury lawyer. If you or a member of your family have been injured in a pedestrian versus automobile accident, please take a moment to call us for free, friendly advice at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400.

Our firm has worked with clients from the North Highlands region for 35+ years. Please review our website and our case settlements and trial verdicts, or click on the links below to read what clients have to say about our firm:

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