New crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that automakers are making progress on technology that may decrease the alarming amount of pedestrian accident fatalities that have taken place. According to Consumer Reports, six midsize cars have received top ratings in the latest IIHS pedestrian detection tests. Seven other cars were awarded the second-best score of “advanced.” Only three of the 19 models tested received the lowest score of “no credit.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that the percentage of pedestrian fatalities has increased immensely within the last year more than any amount in the past three decades. This continues to be a troubling trend even as more vehicles come up with crash avoidance systems. In 2018, 6,283 pedestrians were killed nationwide, a 3.4% increase compared to 2017. This increase came as the overall number of traffic fatalities declined by 2.4%. In fact, there were 53% more pedestrians killed last year compared to 2009.
How the Vehicles Fared
About two-thirds of vehicles rated by IIHS come with pedestrian detection. In many of these models, pedestrian detection systems are considered “standard equipment.” IIHS tested the system in three scenarios: an adult walking in front of a vehicle traveling at 12 mph and 25 mph; a child darting between parked cars; and an adult walking in the shoulder of the road.
The six cars that IIHS gave top rating to were the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Nissan Maxima, Subaru Outback and Volvo S60. These vehicles significantly reduced their speed during the trials and in most cases, avoided hitting the pedestrian dummy. However, not all models did well. The Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima got failing grades.
Cars with pedestrian detective features use cameras, sensors and radars to detect pedestrians coming into a vehicle’s path. Data compiled by Consumer Reports shows that more pedestrian detection systems are coming to the market, both as standard equipment and as part of luxury option packages. In 2019, about 38% of models sold in the United States had these systems as a standard feature, up from 19% in 2018.
Safety Should Be Prioritized
There is no question that safety should be the top priority for automakers. Our personal injury lawyers strongly believe that safety features should not be reserved for upscale or luxury-line automobiles. This technology, which has been available for several years now, should be made standard in all vehicles, considering the recent uptick in pedestrian accident deaths. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident due to a driver’s negligence or dangerous roadways, please contact our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.