Anyone who has shopped for a new vehicle in the last several years no doubt has learned about many new features that auto makers are including and touting as improving safety. Some of these features are designed to reduce the impact of any accident while others are designed ideally to prevent accidents. Pedestrian detection systems and automatic braking systems are two examples of the latter.

AAA study results

According to Consumer Reports, a study conducted by AAA found that the inclusion of pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems on a vehicle far from guarantees the safety of any pedestrian. During night driving conditions, these systems were found to be completely ineffective. Even during daylight hours and at speeds of between 20 miles per hour and 30 miles per hour, pedestrian dummies were hit by the test vehicles in anywhere from 60% to 100% of instances depending on the circumstances.

Growing pedestrian risks

The Verge reported that data released from the Governors Highway Safety Association found 2018 to be the deadliest year for pedestrians on U.S. roads in nearly 30 years.

One of the factors that may be contributing to a rise in pedestrian fatalities is the prevalence of large vehicles like pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. When hit by these vehicles versus a standard passenger sedan, a person on foot is more apt to sustain injury to critical organs in the torso region. A pedestrian is also more likely to be pushed under and trapped below a taller vehicle. Head injuries may also be more common when hit by taller vehicles.