As more and more people choose to get around on foot, the risk for pedestrian accidents increases. Overall traffic fatalities have dipped in 2019 but there were 6,227 pedestrian deaths in 2018, putting them at a 30-year high.
In many communities, the infrastructure hasn’t caught up to the increase in foot traffic. Many roadways are designed to accommodate vehicle speed rather than pedestrian safety. While some communities work on improving their infrastructure to cater to pedestrian safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has its focus set on improving safety technology on many new vehicles.
A real test of technology
IIHS tested the stopping features on several 2018-19 model year vehicles using dummies that emulated real pedestrians. The three rating categories in the study were basic, advanced, and superior and were assigned to vehicles depending on their performance in three specific scenarios:
- An adult pedestrian enters direct path of a vehicle from the right side of the road.
- A child runs into the direct path of a vehicle from behind parked cars.
- An adult walks along the side of the road while facing away from the direction of traffic.
The vehicles were tested in five consecutive runs on dry pavement on their ability to reduce speed once a pedestrian has been detected.
In one evaluation, the vehicles traveled at 12 mph and 25 mph in scenarios involving adult and child pedestrians walking in a perpendicular direction.
In another evaluation, the vehicles traveled at 25 and 37 mph in scenarios involving adult pedestrians traveling in a parallel direction.
The most challenging of the three scenarios was the one involving the child pedestrian. This was primarily due to the inability of vehicle cameras to detect the dummy behind the two parked cars. Once the dummy emerged, the vehicle had only seconds to stop.
Out of the 11 vehicles tested, four of them received superior ratings. Five vehicles received advanced ratings, one received a basic rating, and another received no rating.
The vehicles that received superior ratings included:
- 2018-19 Honda CR-V
- 2019 Subaru Forester
- 2019 Toyota RAV4
- 2019 Volvo XC40
The vehicles that received advanced ratings included:
- 2019 Chevrolet Equinox
- 2018-19 Hyundai Kona
- 2019 Kia Sportage
- 2018-19 Mazda CX-5
- 2019 Nissan Rogue
Technology isn’t fool-proof
The efforts of researchers to prevent pedestrian deaths is commendable. Unfortunately, technology isn’t foolproof. There is always the possibility for a technical glitch or malfunction. The responsibility still falls on drivers to stay attentive, reduce their speed, and keep their eyes open for pedestrians.
Should you be injured in a pedestrian accident, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to start your claim.