Can Self-Driving Pedestrian Systems be Trusted?

Studies show that pedestrian detection systems are not nearly as effective as manufacturers claim.

Pedestrian accidents are one of the most common and potentially serious types of crashes. With little to protect them in collisions involving automobiles, injuries pedestrians suffer are often severe. To help reduce the dangers, car manufacturers have installed self-driving pedestrian detection features in many new automobiles. These are designed to warn drivers of impending pedestrian accidents and to prevent them from occurring. Unfortunately, traffic safety experts report that these systems are not nearly as effective as car makers claim and warn that trusting in them could have devastating consequences.

How Well do Pedestrian Detection Systems Actually Work?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has aggressively worked alongside auto manufacturers to develop new devices and advance warning systems to reduce the high number of motor vehicle accidents and injuries. Pedestrian detection systems are among a handful of new technologies introduced over the past few years.

Pedestrian accidents kill more than 6,000 people each year while leaving hundreds of thousands of others with serious injuries. In the majority of cases, the actions of the driver are often to blame. Early warning systems are supposed to warn drivers when a pedestrian is in their path while self-driving controls, such as automatic braking, are designed to reduce collisions.

While auto manufacturers use safety controls as a way of promoting their products, new studies show that these systems fail to work as well as they claim. The American Automobile Association (AAA) tested several vehicles with self-driving pedestrian safety features and found they performed surprisingly lower than expected. Particularly in high-risk situations, self-driving features made little difference in reducing the likelihood of pedestrian accidents or the severity of injuries victims suffered.

Factors That Increase Pedestrian Accident Risks

The AAA study showed that pedestrian detection and crash avoidance systems fail to address three common factors which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), significantly increase pedestrian accident risks:

  • Nighttime driving: 75% of all pedestrian accidents occur after dark. Pedestrian detection systems may help avoid a crash during daylight hours, but even car manufacturers warn these systems do not perform well at night.
  • Speeding: Pedestrian warning systems were successful at avoiding accidents in 40% of cases in which vehicles were traveling at 20 miles per hour. With a vehicle traveling 40 miles per hour, the success rate drops to 25%.
  • Young victims: Children are among those most at risk for pedestrian accidents. Self-driving pedestrian safety systems have some success in detecting adults on the road, but when it comes to young people, they fail in 85% of cases.

Rather than trusting in self-driving features, drivers need to remain cautious. Ultimately, they are responsible when pedestrian accidents occur. 

Contact Our Edinburg, TX Pedestrian Accident Attorney

When pedestrian accidents impact you or your loved ones, the Law Office of Raúl A. Guajardo, P.L.L.C. can help you hold those at fault accountable in a claim. To request a consultation, contact our Edinburg, TX pedestrian accident attorney today.