When shopping for a new vehicle today, a consumer may evaluate a range of advanced features designed to improve safety by either preventing collisions or reducing the impact of any collisions that may occur.
Examples of these features include pedestrian detection systems and automatic braking systems. Knowing how effective these features are can be incredibly important when picking out a new vehicle.
AAA study finds gaps in system effectiveness
A study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) evaluated multiple vehicles equipped with both pedestrian detection and automatic braking features. Test scenarios ranged in complexity, with the simplest having an adult pedestrian walk directly in front of an oncoming vehicle in broad daylight.
A more complex scenario involved a vehicle making a right turn while two adult pedestrians were positioned on the side of the road and a third walked directly into the vehicle’s path. Another test scenario had a child-sized pedestrian run into the vehicle’s path from between two other parked vehicles.
The effectiveness of the systems declined dramatically as the complexity of each test increased. Even the best tests still resulted in the pedestrian dummy being hit 60% of the time. Tests conducted in dark conditions led AAA to declare the technology features completely ineffective in these situations based on the data.
Bigger vehicles create bigger dangers
The Verge reported that some experts and studies have found the proliferation of SUVs contributes to an increased risk of injury or death for pedestrians. People on foot may experience more severe injuries when hit by these larger vehicles. The height of SUVs may also make it harder for drivers to see pedestrians, thereby reducing drivers’ abilities to avoid hitting people on foot.