Vehicle safety technology limitations

Like most people in Pennsylvania, you have likely seen advertisements promoting any number of safety features on new cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles. These features include things like automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance or object detection alerts. You might even have purchased or leased a new car in the past few years that has some of these features on it. While safety advances are important and positive, it is wise to realize that they are not able to keep everyone safe all of the time.

The Verge reported on the results of a study conducted by AAA that evaluated some features like those that detect pedestrians using dummies on a controlled course. The tests were conducted in broad daylight while the vehicles were traveling at a rate of 20 miles per hour. In six out of 10 instances, the vehicles equipped with pedestrian detection alerts and automatic braking hit the dummies.

Additional data have shown that safety detection systems have very low accuracy or effectiveness in the dark. These facts highlight the ongoing risks that pedestrians face when sharing the road with vehicles. They may contribute to the rise in pedestrian deaths even as overall traffic fatalities decline. In 2018, more pedestrians were killed in vehicular crashes than in any year since 1990. Between 2017 and 2018, foot traffic fatalities increased by 3.4%.