Technology advances, yet pedestrians remain unsafe

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Thursday, Oct 26, 2023

People in New York may find themselves on foot among a sea of vehicles in many situations. Whether out on a run or daily walk or making one’s way from a parked vehicle to a destination, being a pedestrian is part and parcel of everyday life.

With pedestrians accounting for nearly 28% of New York State’s total vehicular fatalities in 2018 alone, people should understand what options they have to stay safe when on foot.

Technology touts increased safety

Today’s new vehicles frequently include advanced technologies that either provide useful assistance to drivers or that aim to increase safety on the road. Safety advances may come in the form of features designed to prevent accidents or to reduce the impact to humans if or when accidents do occur. Pedestrian detection systems and automatic braking systems aim to do both of these things, keeping more pedestrians alive and safe.

Study exposes technology gaps

AAA evaluated multiple new vehicles equipped with both pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems to determine the effectiveness of these features. The results of the study unfortunately did not support the benefits or claims touted by the manufacturers.

A report by The Verge indicates that the best results from the study included test vehicles operating at 20 miles per hour in daylight conditions. The vehicles approached a crosswalk in which an adult pedestrian dummy was crossing. In six out of 10 tests under these conditions, the pedestrian dummy was struck by the test vehicle. Test vehicles hit smaller child-sized dummies in 89% of the tests.

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